Asian markets rise, dollar holds gains ahead of Trump speech

01-Mar-2017 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Asian markets mostly gave up their early gains Tuesday and the dollar came under fresh selling pressure as trading floors become cautious ahead of Donald Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress.

The new US president hinted he would make a “big” announcement on infrastructure policy, raising hopes he will deliver on a key campaign promise.

Traders will also be looking for detail on tax reform – another major pledge – which this month he said would be “phenomenal”.

Global markets and the dollar have surged since Trump’s election win in November on expectations his planned measures will fire the US economy and fuel inflation, forcing the Federal Reserve to lift interest rates.

But with the Dow on Monday hitting a record high for a 12th successive day, analysts say there is a worry the advance may have gone too far and investors are beginning to row back, with the also dollar feeling the pinch.

“President Trump’s big address naturally has attracted a lot of anticipation in markets. There is a strong chance that it could be the catalyst for the next leg higher for the US dollar, bonds and stocks,” Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader, said in a note.

“But there is also room for disappointment.”

The dollar got a shot in the arm Monday when the head of the Dallas Fed Robert Kaplan said he thought borrowing costs should be lifted “sooner rather than later”.

– Samsung heir indicted -

His comments fuelled speculation the Fed could hike as soon as next month and come days before the central bank’s head, Janet Yellen, and her deputy Stanley Fischer are due to talk.

The greenback’s improvement from Monday’s levels around 112 yen provided support to Japan’s exporters in the morning but the positive energy for the dollar seeped away through the day and the Nikkei ended only marginally higher, having been up almost one percent at one point.

Adding to the sense of concern, Japan logged its first fall in factory output for six months, highlighting the struggle the country’s leaders face in trying to turn around the world’s number three economy.

Hong Kong fell 0.6 percent in the afternoon, having already fallen for three days straight, while Sydney shed 0.2 percent and Singapore was off 0.3 percent. Manila and Kuala Lumpur also retreated. But Shanghai rose 0.4 percent.

Seoul closed 0.3 percent higher, with market heavyweight Samsung Electronics jumping more than one percent despite news that the heir to the South Korean giant and four other top executives had been indicted on multiple charges including bribery and embezzlement.

– Key figures around 0700 GMT -

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 19,118.99 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.6 percent at 23,782.72

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,241.73 (close)

euro/dollar: UP at $1.0600 from $1.0587

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2445 from $1.2440

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.45 yen from 112.70 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 15 cents at $54.20

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 21 cents at $56.14 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 20,843.19 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,253.00 (close)


Category: FinanceAsia

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