Asian markets rebounded strongly yesterday on better-than-expected US jobs data while traders took a more positive view of the European Central Bank’s position on the eurozone debt crisis.
The single currency hit its highest level against the dollar in a month as concerns over the eurozone and the US eased, while hopes grew that Greece will meet its obligations to qualify for another tranche of rescue cash.
Tokyo rose 2.0%, or 171.18 points, to 8,726.29, Seoul climbed 2.01%, or 37.20 points, to 1,885.88 and Sydney closed 1.21%, or 51.1 points, higher at 4,272.6.
Hong Kong jumped 1.69%, or 332.54 points, to 19,998.72 while Shanghai added 1.04%, or 22.12 points, to close at 2,154.92.
In the US the Labor Department said on Friday that the economy added 163,000 jobs in July — the strongest gain since February and beating forecasts for a gain of 100,000.
Despite a 0.1 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate to 8.3% the figures were welcomed by investors who took the report as a sign of resilience in the world’s number one economy.
The figures were welcome news for the markets, which had been sent tumbling on Thursday after the ECB failed to announce any concrete plans to support the euro, despite comment from its head Mario Draghi that it would do whatever was needed.
However, the initial disappointment was reversed in Europe and on Wall Street after bank officials said Friday it could intervene and buy the bonds of struggling eurozone countries without unanimous approval.
Those comments raised hopes that a bond buying programme to help struggling countries such as Spain and Italy is still possible.
The ECB “seems to be cooking up something internally”, Jung Seung-jae, analyst at Mirae Asset Securities in South Korea, told Dow Jones Newswires.
“Action may come earlier than expected.”
On Asian currency markets the euro surged in early trade to a one-month high of $1.2442 as traders became more confident in higher-risk, higher-yielding assets.
The unit later eased back to $1.2350 in early European trade, compared with $1.2381 in late trade in New York Friday.
The euro bought ¥96.91 compared with ¥97.30 in New York, although well up from the ¥95.18 in Tokyo on Friday. The dollar bought ¥78.40, from 78.59.
Also providing some support to markets were comments from Greece’s international creditors on Sunday that the country was committed to hammering out further spending cuts to secure a new batch of aid.
The so-called troika of creditors — the EU, IMF and ECB — met about the reforms Greece needs to implement to secure 31.5bn euros in aid and stay afloat.
“We made good progress,” IMF official Poul Thomsen told reporters after the meeting.
That eased concerns that Athens was not doing enough to satisfy its creditors and could be refused the cash, which would in turn be likely to lead to a default.
Gold in Asia trade was at $1,608.40 at 1040 GMT, from $1,595.50 on Friday.
In other markets, Singapore advanced 0.67%, or 20.49 points, to 3,071.82, Taipei rose 0.95%, or 68.82 points, to 7,286.33 and Manila ended flat, dipping 0.03%, or 1.75 points, to 5,284.16.
Wellington closed 0.43% higher, adding 15.21 points to 3,563.20, while Kuala Lumpur gained 0.27%, or 4.39 points, to 1,639.43 and Jakarta climbed 0.14%, or 5.69 points, to 4,105.50. Bangkok rose 0.88%, or 10.48 points, to 1,208.01.
From gulf times.