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Nikkei, Hang Seng Rise on Hope for US Debt Ceiling Talks

Asian stocks rose on Monday amid growing hope that US leaders will resolve talks to raise the government’s debt ceiling


Most stock markets in Asia rose on Monday.
The Nikkei rose by 0.8%, while the Shanghai Composite was up nearly 1.2% and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong climbed by 1.75% on Monday. AFP file photo.

 

Asian stocks rose on Monday amid cautious optimism that the US would resolve talks to raise its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.

The Nikkei rose by 0.8%, while the Shanghai Composite was up nearly 1.2% and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong climbed by 1.75%.

Shenzhen rose by 1.57%, while the ASX in Sydney edged up 0.14% and the Nifty 50 in Mumbai got a 0.46% lift.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan reversed earlier losses to rise 0.7%, driven by a late rebound in Chinese and Hong Kong shares.

China’s central bank on Monday held rates on medium-term policy loans steady, although expectations are building that monetary policy easing may be inevitable in coming months to support an economic recovery.

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A raft of economic data is due this week, along with a bevy of central banks preparing to comment on whether further rate hikes await.

European markets opened higher, with pan-region Stoxx up 0.2% as of 0854 GMT. Both S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures rose 0.4% and 0.3% respectively.

Thai baht rallies, Turkish lira sinks

In emerging markets, the Turkish lira touched a two-month low after weekend elections looked headed for a runoff, while the Thai baht rallied almost 1% after Thailand’s opposition routed military-allied parties also in weekend polls.

The lira was at 19.65 to the dollar at 0851 GMT, after reaching 19.70 in earlier trading, its weakest since a record low of 19.80 hit in March this year following earthquakes that killed at least 56,000.

It was on track for its worst trading session since early November. On the Istanbul bourse, a 6.38% drop triggered a market-wide circuit breaker.

 

Debt ceiling talks Tuesday

US President Joe Biden expects to meet Congressional leaders on Tuesday for talks to raise the nation’s debt limit and avoid a catastrophic default, saying on Saturday that the talks are moving along.

“The debt ceiling is the elephant in the room, but traders are holding out hope that common sense will win the day,” James Rossiter, head of global macro strategy at TD Securities in London, said.

Neither side wants a default, said Rossiter, who believed a deal would be found, but said anything was possible.

Concerns about the US Congress not raising the debt ceiling on time have created large distortions in the short-end of the yield curve, as investors avoid bills that mature when the Treasury is at risk of running out of funds, and pour into alternative issues.

The yield on benchmark 10-year notes was little changed at 3.4756%, after rising 6 basis points on Friday, and two-year yields were steady at 3.9936%, having also jumped 10 basis points in the previous session.

Also this week, a host of Federal Reserve officials are speaking, with chair Jerome Powell set for Friday, and could generate plenty of headlines to move the dial further.

 

Fed seen holding rates

Traders currently put the odds of the Fed holding rates steady at 17.7%, up from 8.5% a week ago, after a report on Friday showed US long-term inflation expectations jumped to the highest since 2011, boosting the dollar and Treasury yields.

However, bets are still on as many as three quarter-point cuts by year-end, after CPI and PPI data supported the case of Fed pausing, given slowing inflation.

Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said on Friday that the US central bank probably will need to raise interest rates further if inflation stays high.

“While we think the directional bias is right – i.e. a cut is the next move rather than a hike – it now may take softening in global growth or sharply weaker growth in order to even meet current market pricing, or fuel further dovish repricing,” John Briggs, global head of economics at NatWest Markets, said.

Oil prices declined for the fourth straight session. US crude futures fell 0.2% to $70.20 per barrel, while Brent crude futures were down 0.2% to $74.29 per barrel.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

 

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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.

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