Asian stocks inch higher as rate-cut bets persist, Nikkei extends rally By Investing.com
Investing.com– Most Asian stocks rose past early weakness on Monday as traders maintained bets that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates early, with Japanese markets extending a rally to 34-year highs.
But bigger gains were held back by anticipation of more key economic cues this week, including Chinese data and and . Beijing’s reaction to the Taiwan presidential election also kept traders on edge.
Japan’s was the best performer among its peers for a fourth straight session, rising 1.1% to a new 34-year high as the prospect of an ultra-dovish Bank of Japan kept traders heavily biased towards local stocks.
Japanese consumer price index (CPI) data due later this week is expected to show a sustained decline in inflation, setting a dovish tone for the BOJ when it .
The rose 0.5% after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate William Lai won the Presidential election over the weekend- largely maintaining the status quo for the island in its resistance towards reunification with China.
Lai, along with the DPP, has constantly reiterated Taiwan’s independence- which has been a key point of ire for Beijing. The Chinese government maintained its calls for reunification over the weekend, and any more action from Beijing will be in close focus ahead of Lai’s official inauguration in May.
Chinese stocks held back by rate-cut disappointment, Q4 GDP awaited
China’s and indexes rose 0.2% and 0.4%, respectively.
Hong Kong’s index rose 0.1%, with losses in heavyweight tech stocks limiting gains. Search engine giant Baidu (NASDAQ:) (HK:) slid as much as 10% after a report linked its Ernie artificial intelligence bot to the Chinese military, which could potentially attract U.S. sanctions.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) unexpectedly kept its medium-term lending rates on hold on Monday, as it struggles between shoring up economic growth and stemming further losses in the yuan. The move heralds no changes to the PBOC’s key later in January.
Still, Chinese stocks took some support from a liquidity injection by the PBOC.
Monday’s move showed that Beijing has limited headroom to further loosen monetary conditions and support growth- which could bode poorly for a fragile post-COVID economic recovery.
Focus this week is largely on fourth-quarter GDP data, due on Wednesday. While growth is expected to have surpassed the government’s 5% target for 2023, a bulk of that increase is also expected to come from a low basis for comparison from the prior year.
Chinese stocks were the worst-performing Asian markets in 2023, losing between 10% to 20% as a post-COVID economic rebound failed to materialize.
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Broader Asian markets advanced, albeit slightly, as traders maintained bets on early U.S. interest rate cuts following mixed cues on inflation. rose more than expected in December, while inflation fell more than expected.
A U.S. market holiday also made for scant trading cues on Monday.
Australia’s and South Korea’s rose 0.1% each.
Futures for India’s index pointed to a mildly positive open. Indian inflation is due later on Monday, coming after data on Friday showed a smaller-than-expected increase in .