Type to search

China Gains, Fed Cut Bets Lift Asian Shares to Highest in a Year

China’s blue-chip index jumped 1.4% on Monday, while the Hang Seng was up 0.55% in Hong Kong, but trading was thin, with a holiday in Japan.

Asian stock markets raise mostly on Tuesday, but Chinese stocks were down marginally on Covid concerns.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were at their highest since February 2023 on Monday. Photo: Reuters.


Asian stocks were at their highest in over a year on Monday, buoyed by more bets that the Federal Reserve will ease rates this year and strong Chinese share gains last week.

Trading was thin in Asia with a holiday in Japan, but markets on mainland China were upbeat after traders came back from an extended break.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan peaked at their highest since February 2023 and last gained 0.70%, while China’s blue-chip index jumped 1.41%.


ALSO SEE: China Services Sector Eases in April But New Orders Grow: Caixin


Chinese shares offshore posted strong gains last week while mainland markets were closed from Wednesday to Friday for the Labour Day holiday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 4.7% last week and on Friday clocked its longest daily winning streak since 2018. It was up 0.55% today.

The Nasdaq-listed Golden Dragon China Index jumped 5.5% last week.

In currency markets, the yen weakened after a strong surge last week from Tokyo’s suspected currency intervention.

The onshore yuan had a catch-up rally and surged to a six-week high of 7.2009 per dollar, while its offshore counterpart last stood at 7.2098 per dollar, having strengthened more than 1% last week.


China tone ‘more supportive’

The rebound in Chinese markets has come on the back of the country’s Politburo meeting, where policymakers said they will step up support for the economy with prudent monetary and proactive fiscal policies.

“While the overall policy stance is in line with those set at the National People’s Congress in March, there is a more supportive policy tone on fiscal policy,” Louisa Fok, China equity strategist at Bank of Singapore, said.

“Looking ahead, policy implementation would be a key catalyst to watch in the coming months. In addition, earnings growth estimates revision momentum would be another key indicator to watch from a corporate fundamental perspective.”

A long-awaited recovery in the Chinese economy is also gaining momentum, with data on Monday showing the country’s services activity expansion slowed a touch amid rising costs, but growth in new orders accelerated and business sentiment rose solidly.

The broader market rally across Asia meanwhile got an additional boost from Friday’s US non-farm payrolls report, which came in cooler than expected.

That reinforced bets that Fed rate cuts would most likely come this year, after chair Jerome Powell also maintained the central bank’s easing bias last week.

“(The) data point to a jobs market that is still tight, but not nearly as hot as it was a year or two ago,” economists at Wells Fargo said. “This should support a further slowdown in inflation as the year progresses, even if improvement proceeds only gradually.”

EUROSTOXX 50 futures gained 0.35%, while Nasdaq futures were little changed. S&P 500 futures added 0.07%.

The dollar held broadly steady on Monday, leaving the euro away from a one-month high to last trade at $1.08, while sterling similarly edged lower and last bought $1.2545.


All eyes on the yen

Elsewhere, traders also remained on alert for any further volatility in the yen, after last week’s bouts of suspected intervention from Japanese authorities to stop a sharp slide in the currency.

Tokyo is suspected to have spent more than 9 trillion yen ($59 billion) to support its currency last week, as suggested by data from Bank of Japan, taking the yen from a 34-year low of 160.245 per dollar to a roughly one-month high of 151.86 over the span of a week.

The yen gave back some of those gains on Monday and was last 0.5% lower at 153.786 per dollar, after briefly weakening past the 154 level earlier in the session.

Economic leaders of South Korea, Japan and China had on Friday said heightened foreign exchange market volatility was one of the risk factors that could affect regional growth prospects in the near term.

In commodities, Brent futures rose 0.33% to $83.23 a barrel, while US crude futures similarly edged 0.36% higher to $78.39 per barrel.

Gold tacked on 0.4% to $2,311.47 an ounce.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard



China Services Sector Eases in April But New Orders Grow: Caixin

Graft Blamed for Long Delay of China’s Energy Law

Bank of Japan ‘Spent $59 Billion Lifting Yen’ 3.5% This Week

Japan Will Prop Up Yen Until Freefall Risk Fades: Ex-BoJ Chief

China’s Weak Consumer Spending is Holding World Back: IMF Chief

China Sees Surprising GDP Growth, But Weak Demand in March


Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


AF China Bond