Asian markets fell yesterday but the euro rose as attention turns to a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the week, with dealers hoping for plans to restart a bond-buying programme.
With US markets closed for the Labor Day holiday on Monday and few catalysts, regional investors took a wait-and-see approach, with the ECB meeting tomorrow as well as closely-watched US jobs figures due Friday.
Tokyo slipped 0.10%, or 8.38 points, to 8,775.51, Sydney fell 0.61%, or 26.2 points, to 4,303.5 and Seoul lost 0.29%, or 5.58 points to 1,907.13.
Hong Kong ended 0.66% lower, shedding 129.30 points to 19,429,91 and Shanghai fell 0.75%, or 15.50 points, to 2,043.65.
The losses come after a broad regional rally on Monday following downbeat manufacturing figures that raised hopes for a fresh round of stimulus measures and monetary easing.
In other markets; Taipei closed flat, edging up just 0.82 points to 7,451.35; Manila closed 0.83%, or 43.21 points, down at 5,175.87; Wellington gained 0.19%, or 6.99 points, to 3,676.02; Singapore closed down 0.19%, or 5.67 points, to 3,011.55; Jakarta closed 12.70 points, or 0.31% lower, to 4,105.25; Kuala Lumpur ended flat, inching up 0.01%, to 1,654.11; while Bangkok rose 0.07% or 0.83 points to 1,236.31.
Expectations rose that the ECB would announce a new round of sovereign bond purchases after European lawmakers said the bank’s head, Mario Draghi, had indicated such a move.
With struggling economies such as Spain, Italy and Portugal desperate for help to push down their borrowing costs, Draghi said any central bank intervention would include only short and medium-term debt, the lawmakers said.
He said in a closed-door meeting that bond-buying in the past was justified to help stabilise and protect the 17-nation eurozone, they added.
“The only question is whether or not it (the ECB) will print more money between now and November,” Nicholas Smith, equity strategist at CLSA in Tokyo, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Draghi’s comment helped push the euro to a two-month high of $1.2627 at one point yesterday in Asia, compared with $1.2598 late Monday in London trade. However,
it later eased to $1.2597.
It also fetched ¥98.78, compared with ¥98.68 a day earlier. The dollar was at ¥78.43 against ¥78.32.
In Europe, investors brushed off Moody’s decision to lower the European Union’s long-term issuer rating outlook from stable to negative.
They also looked past news that Spain’s indebted Andalusia region, the country’s most populous, which has a 33.9% unemployment rate, would seek a €1bn “advance” from Madrid to provide liquidity.
From gulf times.