BUSINESS

Asian markets are seeing a little reprieve from intense selling pressure.

HONG KONG: Asian markets gained some much-needed ground Thursday, buoyed by bargain-hunting, a strong lead from New York and Europe, and further vows of economic help for China’s economy.

Traders, on the other hand, are on high alert due to a variety of problems, including the Ukraine crisis, soaring inflation, central bank monetary tightening, and Chinese COVID lockdowns.

The recent earnings season has produced a mixed bag of results that have dragged on technology businesses. However, there was some reprieve on Wednesday with a forecast-beating performance from Facebook parent Meta, which experts suggested might bring some relief to the industry. Apple and Amazon are scheduled to make announcements later this week.

Traders were also encouraged by a report by state broadcaster CCTV, which said that authorities had vowed to introduce other programmes to boost employment.

On Wednesday, Li Keqiang said that stabilising the labour market was a “critical support” for keeping economic growth in a reasonable range.

The statements come as unemployment has increased in recent months as a result of lockdowns in important areas like Shanghai, which were implemented to combat a Covid epidemic but have battered the economy and jeopardised global growth.

Beijing’s senior leadership has made a series of moves in recent weeks aimed at boosting the mood. Xi Jinping called for an “all-out” infrastructure drive on Tuesday, as the People’s Bank of China reduced the number of cash banks must maintain in reserve to free up funds for lending.

Additionally, Vice Premier Liu committed to ensuring the stock market’s stability and to promoting international share listings.

However, investors remain sceptical, since authorities have offered nothing substantial on the policy front, with experts stating that the primary impediment to equities is the leadership’s determination to back down from its campaign to remove COVID.

Hong Kong and Shanghai were up in early trading, while Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Wellington, Taipei, Manila, and Jakarta were all higher.

The National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril says that even though “risk assets in general” have to deal with what looks like more aggressive policy tightening by a lot of different central banks, they still have to.

“China’s zero-COVID policy remains in place, and the likelihood of a lengthy Russia-Ukraine war does not speak well for energy prices and, in particular, energy supplies in Europe.”

And BlackRock’s Kate Moore told Bloomberg TV: “The unpredictability element is among the biggest we’ve seen in a lot of years.”

There are a plethora of crosscurrents. And in that context, it’s difficult to see significant reductions in volatility. “

Markets are preparing for next week’s big event: the Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting. At this meeting, the central bank is expected to raise interest rates by a half-point and say that more big rises are coming this year as it tries to control rising prices.

The dollar has risen to a 20-year high against the yen because of the possibility of higher borrowing rates. Japan, on the other hand, has kept its monetary policy ultra-loose.

The dollar is now at a five-year high against the euro, as the European Central Bank continues to defy the hawkish Fed, while the single currency is pulled down by concerns about the economy as Russia shuts off energy supplies to sections of the continent.

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