Asian Markets Gain on Economic Growth Outlook and Vaccine Rollouts Progress
Asian markets opened higher on Friday after U.S. equities rose as investors weighed the outlook for economic growth and inflation and welcomed vaccination rollouts progress.
By the Friday market close on the mainland, the Shanghai composite rose 1.63% to 3,418.33 while the Shenzhen component jumped 2.597% to 13,769.68. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.57% on the day to 28,336.43.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 1.56% higher at 29,176.70, while the Topix index rose 1.46% to finish its trading day at 1,984.16. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.09% to close at 3,041.01.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.39%.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Xiaomi and Great Wall Motor soared 6.28% and 10.38%. After a report on Reuters, Xiaomi plans to make electric vehicles using Great Wall Motor’s factory.
Elsewhere, shares of Baidu in Hong Kong plunged 5.56% on Friday. The firm saw a muted debut in the city earlier this week. Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed stock also dropped 2.26%.
Major dual-listed Chinese tech companies like Baidu and Alibaba have come under pressure in recent sessions. Fears over potential delistings from U.S. stock exchanges resurfaced after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a law called the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged Thursday that fiscal help from Congress and accelerated vaccine distribution has allowed the U.S. to recover faster than expected.
“As we make substantial further progress toward our goals, we’ll gradually roll back the amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities we’ve bought,” Powell told NPR’s “Morning Edition” in a live interview. “We will very gradually, over time and with great transparency, when the economy has all but fully recovered, we will be pulling back the support that we provided during emergency times.” Jerome Powell
Asian Markets Currencies and Oil
Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 2.15% to $63.28 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 2.48% to $60.01 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.798, following its climb from below 92 earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 109.38 per dollar, having weakened below 108.6 against the greenback seen earlier this week.
The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7622, still lower than around $0.774 seen earlier in the week.