As China fuels reform hope

Asia stocks, currencies up

GMT 08:03 2015 Tuesday ,22 December

Arab Today, arab today Asia stocks, currencies up

China's economic planners say they will combat local government debt
Hong Kong - Arab Today

Hopes that China will implement fresh economic reforms lifted emerging-market currencies Tuesday and oil and metals prices saw a rare uptick, while most Asian stock markets extended the previous day's gains.

After a secretive policy meeting that ended Monday, China's economic planners said they would combat local government debt and push on with changes in the housing sector to try to shore up growth.

They also said they would "strengthen structural reforms" and monetary policy should be more flexible, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The announcement is the latest from Beijing after it promised last year to let the market play a bigger role in the world's number two economy and implement reforms of bloated state-owned enterprises.

It also follows other moves to kickstart slowing growth, including six interest rate cuts since November last year.
"We've had easing on multiple fronts in China and we are starting to see the green shoots of recovery there," Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors, told Bloomberg News.

"We should see China's economy turn the corner in 2016 and the US dollar peaking, which will have a powerful positive impact on commodities and related sectors."

Currencies of countries that rely on trade with China climbed against the dollar. The Australian dollar rose 0.5 percent, Indonesia's rupiah surged one percent, the Thai baht was 0.1 percent higher and the Singapore dollar added 0.2 percent. The South Korean won, Canadian dollar and Taiwan dollar also advanced.

- Toshiba hits Tokyo -

The US dollar bought 121.22 yen compared with 123 yen last week. The euro continues to hold its own despite uncertainty in Spain after a general election left no party with a clear majority.

The possibility of Chinese stimulus measures also lifted commodities, with copper rising 1.1 percent and iron ore surging more than three percent.
Oil, which has slumped more than 60 percent since summer 2014, edged up after Brent hit an 11-year low Monday. Brent gained 0.7 percent Tuesday and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was 0.4 percent up.

However, most analysts expect prices to remain subdued by a global supply glut, tepid demand, OPEC's refusal to cut production and a strong dollar.

Regional stock markets fluctuated through the morning but mostly rebounded in the afternoon. Shanghai added 0.3 percent by the close, Hong Kong edged up 0.1 percent in the afternoon and Seoul ended 0.6 percent higher.

However, Tokyo closed down 0.2 percent, with Toshiba slumping 12.3 percent -- extending a more than nine percent loss Monday -- after it said late Monday it would book a record $4.5 billion loss in the year to March and slash thousands of jobs.

The loss and layoffs are tied to a huge restructuring announced in the wake of revelations this year that company executives systematically pressured underlings to inflate profits to hide poor results.

- Key figures around 0710 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 18,886.70 (close)

Shanghai - composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,651.77 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 21,816.91

Euro/dollar: DOWN to $1.0914 from $1.0915 late Monday

Dollar/yen: UP to 121.22 yen from 121.21 yen

New York - Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 17,251.62 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 6,034.84 (close)
Source: AFP

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