Most Asia markets up ahead of central bank meetings

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HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose on Monday as traders gear up for central bank meetings in the US and Japan this week, hoping authorities will press ahead with loose monetary policies.

Concern that years of cheap cash could be coming to an end has roiled markets this month, with uncertainty fuelled by conflicting comments from top Federal Reserve officials over the need for an interest rate rise.

A lack of any firm promises from Tokyo about the Bank of Japan’s plans has also sparked worries. Years of bond-buying and lavish government spending have had little effect on the country’s torpid economy.

“There are growing concerns about the limits of monetary policy’s impact on growth,” Bernard Aw, a markets strategist in Singapore at IG Ltd, said in an email to clients.

“Unlike the Fed, where investors have a binary view —hike or no hike—of US monetary policy, the BoJ presents a complicated situation. Governor (Haruhiko) Kuroda has repeatedly stressed that they still have many policy tools at their disposal.”

Hong Kong ended 0.9 percent higher as investors returned from a three-day weekend to play catch-up with Friday’s regional rally.

Shanghai, which was closed Thursday and Friday, ended up 0.8 percent while Seoul gained 0.8 percent and Singapore added 0.3 percent. Sydney, however, closed marginally lower at the end of a day interrupted by technical glitches.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

In early European trade London jumped 0.9 percent, Frankfurt added 0.7 percent and Paris put on 0.8 percent.

The dollar held on to most of Friday’s gains against the pound and euro after the release of data showing an uptick in US inflation during August.

The euro bought $1.1162 in Asia, from $1.1156 in New York but well off the $1.1242 in Tokyo Friday. The pound was at $1.3060 compared with $1.3004 in US trade and $1.3215 earlier Friday. The dollar was also at 102.06 yen from 102.27 yen.

Oil prices climbed as fighting erupted in Libya, with forces loyal to the UN-backed unity government launching an offensive Sunday to retake ports seized last week by fighters from a rival administration.

The commodity had fallen to a one-month low before the unrest in the country, which has Africa’s largest reserves. West Texas Intermediate was up 76 cents at $43.79 and Brent added 74 to $46.51.

However, gains were limited due to a global supply glut and overproduction. Traders are keenly awaiting a meeting between OPEC and Russia next week aimed at addressing the issue, although there are worries about the chances of a deal being reached.

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