TOKYO: Asian equity markets were higher on Monday after a weak US jobs report fuelled speculation that the world’s number one economy is not ready for an interest rate rise any time soon.
The positive movement also followed news that officials negotiating an ambitious Pacific trade pact were inching closer to announcing a deal.
Markets across Asia tracked Friday’s surge on Wall Street after a September unemployment report increased the likelihood the US Federal Reserve will keep key interest rates near zero for longer.
A rate hike delay would give global stock markets some breathing space after suffering their worst quarter since 2011, analysts said.
“The Fed is extremely unlikely to begin policy normalization as soon as this month and December is looking tenuous too,” Philip Borkin, a senior economist in Auckland at ANZ,
said in a client note.
Hong-Kong listed Glencore soared after reports it is seeking buyers for its agriculture business, jumping 72 percent at one point.
Investors are also eyeing upcoming central bank meetings in Australia and Japan.
Speculation is growing that an economic downturn in Japan will force policymakers in Tokyo to increase stimulus measures.
Talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which, if successful will create the world’s largest free trade zone, were extended to Monday, as the 12-nation bloc pushed to get a long-awaited deal.
But earlier in the day, Japan’s Economy Minister Akira Amari told reporters “major progress” had been made.
“We are making preparations now to announce a deal in principle this afternoon,” Amari said, according to a translation of his remarks supplied by Japanese journalists.
Wall Street rally
Regional players were given a positive lead from New York, where the three main indices ended last week with strong gains.
The Dow climbed 1.23 percent, the S&P 500 jumped 1.43 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.74 percent.
In Asian markets Monday Tokyo closed 1.58 percent, or 280.36 points, higher at 18,005.49, while Sydney added 98.5 points, or 1.95 percent, to 5,150.5 despite lower volumes due to a public holiday in New South Wales state.
Seoul finished 0.44 percent higher, led by pharmaceuticals and food manufacturers, gaining 8.57 points to close at 1,978.25.
Hong Kong stocks had added 1.32 percent by mid-afternoon, extending a rally from last week, after a report said China’s government will roll out more financial policies to support Macau.
Shanghai was closed for a public holiday. The World Bank on Monday cut its growth forecasts for developing economies in East Asia and the Pacific but allayed fears of a hard landing for China’s slowing economy.
In a report on 14 economies led by China, the bank called on the countries to mitigate the impact of the slowing Chinese economy and any increase in US interest rates by adopting “prudent macro-economic management” and deeper structural reforms.
On currency markets, the dollar was trading at 120.05 yen in Tokyo, barely changed from the end of last week.
The euro traded at $1.1236 and 134.88 yen in Tokyo from $1.1219 and 134.53 yen in US trade.
The Singapore dollar rose by 0.11 percent from Friday against the US unit, the South Korean won gained 0.71 percent and the Taiwan dollar put on 0.58 percent.
The Indian rupee was up 0.35 percent and the Indonesian rupiah jumped 0.66 percent while the Thai baht was flat, up 0.05 percent.