Asian markets dip ahead of Trump, China growth slows

21-Jan-2017 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Most Asian markets turned lower Friday as nervous investors await the inauguration of Donald Trump, while there was little early reaction to data showing a further slowdown in China’s economic growth last year.

After a two-month rally following Trump’s election win, uncertainty has gripped trading floors in recent weeks as they try to gauge what sort of president he will be after a series of outbursts against China and global trade deals.

While he promised a big-spending, tax-cutting drive to fuel the world’s top economy, the tycoon has failed to provide markets with any detail, leading to worries about his ability to deliver.

But analysts said investors were keeping their powder dry until the new president provides something concrete.

“It’s clear that investors have reached a level where they are prepared to wait and see what the Trump administration has to offer,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets Asia Pacific in Sydney, told Bloomberg News.

In morning trade Hong Kong fell 0.8 percent and Sydney lost 0.6 percent, while Seoul shed 0.3 percent. Tokyo ended the morning 0.1 percent higher, but paring early gains as the yen picked up against the dollar.

Shanghai, however, edged up 0.3 percent though the gains were limited as China announced the world’s number-two economy expanded 6.7 percent last year.

– ‘Conditions complicated’ -

While the figure was in line with forecasts in an AFP survey and hit the government’s target, it marks the slowest pace since 1990, a year after the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown isolated the country internationally.

“China’s economy was within a proper range with improved quality and efficiency. However, we should also be aware that the domestic and external conditions are still complicated and severe,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

On forex markets the dollar was struggling against its major peers after Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen indicated the central bank would take a wait-and-see approach to monetary policy, suggesting any rate hikes this year could be slow.

The dollar has soared since November on bets Trump’s fiscal policies would fan inflation and force the Fed to tighten borrowing costs. And remarks from Yellen Wednesday suggested this would be the case.

However, on Thursday she said the Fed was keeping pace with economic growth and ready to act accordingly.

“Offsetting (Wednesday’s) hawkish delivery, Dr Yellen has tossed a monkey wrench into the equation by inferring the Fed is not behind the curve, indeed much more dovish than yesterday’s speech,” Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA, said in a note.

– Key figures around 0230 GMT -

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 19,091.84 (break)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,110.82

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 22,867.85

euro/dollar: UP at $1.0676 from $1.0662

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2353 from $1.2338

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 114.70 yen from 114.84 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 16 cents at $52.53 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 28 cents at $54.20

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 19,732.40 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,208.44 (close)


Category: FinanceAsia

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