Asia Trader

Asian Markets Edge Higher, China and Japan Lead Gains.

Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose on Monday, with shares in Japan and China leading gains regionally.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged 2.25% to close at 28,659.02 while the Topix index jumped 2.14% to end the trading day at 1,953.33. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.89% higher at 3,246.47.

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Nikkei 225 Index Performance Chart

Mainland Chinese stocks also closed higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.67% to 3,547.84 while the Shenzhen component climbed 2.137% to 15,161.52. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained about 0.8%, as of its final hour of trading.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia edged 0.83% higher to close at 7,333.50, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.79%.

In economic news, China’s central bank announced Friday a 50 basis points cut in its reserve requirement ratio for all banks, effective from July.

The RRR represents the amount of money that banks must hold in their coffers as a proportion of their total deposits. A lowering of that required amount will increase the supply of money that banks can lend to businesses and individuals.

The move was intended to demonstrate that the country has “a variety of policy tools to conduct monetary policy,” ANZ Research’s Raymond Yeung and Zhaopeng Xing wrote in a Friday note.

The RRR cut was “almost equivalent to a broad-based easing,” Yeung and Xing said, as it is set to release about 1 trillion Chinese yuan ($154 billion) in funds.

Meanwhile, Investors continued to watch the coronavirus situation in Asia-Pacific on Monday.

Japan’s government put Tokyo under a new Covid state of emergency on Monday while stricter social distancing restrictions kicked in for the greater Seoul area in South Korea, according to local media reports.

Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.243 following an earlier low of 92.083.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.21 per dollar, weaker than levels seen below 110 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7469, still below levels above $0.755 seen last week.

Oil prices dipped in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures sliding 0.44% to $75.22 per barrel. U.S. crude futures fell 0.43% to $74.24 per barrel.

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