Asian Markets Rise as Countries in Region Sign World’s Largest Trade Alliance
Asia markets bounced in Monday’s session after 15 economies in the region signed a deal that formed the world’s largest trade alliance. Tech and auto stocks soared.
The trade deal, signed on Sunday, aims to gradually reduce tariffs across many areas, according to Reuters. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is now the world’s largest trade bloc, a deal that excludes the U.S. It marks the first time that East Asian powers China, Japan and South Korea are in a single trade agreement.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 2.05% to close at 25,906.93, while the Topix was up 1.68% tp 1,731.81.
Japan’s economy rebounded sharply, growing an annualized 21.4% in the third quarter, data showed on Monday. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 5%, better than forecasts of 4.4%, according to Reuters, and a sign that the country was recovering from the damage caused by the pandemic.
In South Korea, the Kospi rose nearly 2% to close at 2,543.03.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by the close. The Shanghai composite rose more than 1% to 3,346.97, while the Shenzhen component was up 0.7% to 13,850.83. The country’s factory output rose faster than expected in October jumping 6.9%, data showed on Monday, according to Reuters. Retail sales continued to recover, climbing 4.3% year-on-year, but missing forecasts of a 4.9% growth.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.58% in the afternoon. Casino and finance stocks listed in the city were going strong. Standard Chartered was up 4.80%, while HSBC bounced 3.49%.
Over in Australia, the Australian Securities Exchange halted stock trading shortly after the open, and stayed close for the rest of the day due to a software issue which created “inaccurate market data,” it said in a statement. It added it will resolve the issue overnight and resume trading at the usual time on Tuesday.
Indian markets are closed due to a holiday. Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.28%.
In a note on Monday morning, Mizuho Bank had called the giant trade agreement a “much-(needed) and overdue life-line for global trade.”
“The reach and ambitions of the RCEP, looking to abolish some 92% of traded goods tariffs, would be critical in deepening supply-chain linkages,” it said.
Japan’s exporters made major gains on the back of the trade deal news.
Autos in Japan mainly benefited, with Nissan soaring more than 5%, and Mazda rocketing by 6.82%. Mitsubishi jumped 2.54%, and Honda gained almost 5%.
Tech stocks in the country also gained. Tokyo Electron and Panasonic jumped nearly 5%. Softbank Group was up 1.83%.
Tech stocks listed in South Korea also jumped. Samsung Electronics was up 4.91% and SK Hynix rocketed past 9%.
Over in the U.S., stock futures rose on Sunday night after the S&P 500 posted a record closing high on Friday and notched a one-week gain of 2.2%. The Dow rallied more than 4% last week and briefly hit an intraday record. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, however, sliding 0.6%.
Coronavirus cases stateside are surging again, with the U.S. reporting a record-high number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Friday. More states are rolling out fresh restrictions to slow the spread of the virus ahead of the holiday season.
“In the US virus cases and vaccine news remain front and centre together with any development on the likelihood of a fiscal stimulus package during the lame duck Congressional session,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at the National Australia Bank wrote in a Monday note. “Vaccine news will also be watched closely with Moderna expected to report Phase 3 results and Pfizer/BioNTech potentially applying for an emergency use authorization by the end of the week.”
After dropping more than 2% on Friday, oil prices edged higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures were up 1.24% to $43.31 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 1.47% to $40.72 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, weakened further to 92.614 after declining from levels above 92.9 late last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 104.46 per dollar, after strengthening from levels above 105 late last week. The Australian dollar was relatively unchanged, trading at 0.7285 against the dollar.