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Asia stocks rally, USD restrained before inflation test looms



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Asian share markets rallied on Monday on hopes a key reading on U.S. inflation will show some cooling, while the U.S. dollar was limited by the risk of higher European interest rates and Japanese intercession.

Holidays in China and South Korea made for slow trading, while brokers were unsure what implications Ukraine’s surprising success against Russian powers could have.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) added 0.5%, having bounced modestly from a two-year low hit last week. Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) added another 1.1%, after rallying 2% last week.

Chinese blue chips (.CSI300) firmed 1.3% ahead of retail and industry data due later in the week that may show some improvement in August after a disappointing July.

Wall Street struggled to extend Friday’s bounce with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures flat. EUROSTOXX 50 futures gained 0.6% and FTSE futures 0.2%.

Bulls are hoping Tuesday’s reading on U.S. customer costs will hint at a peak for inflation as falling petrol prices are seen pulling down the headline index by 0.1%.

The core is figure to rise 0.3%, though some analysts see a chance of a softer report.

“Arguably, with the economy having contracted through the first half, and household discretionary spending capacity under significant pressure, we are due a modest downside surprise,” said economists at Westpac.

“As such, we forecast +0.2% for core and -0.2% for headline,” they added. “If achieved though, it should not be assumed that October and beyond will see repeats, with volatility likely to persist.”

A delicate number might revive speculation the Federal Reserve will only hike by 50 basis points this month, though it would likely have to be very weak to have a real impact given how stridently hawkish policymakers have been as of late.

The market at present implies an 88% chance the Fed will hike by 75 basis points.

BofA global economist Ethan Harris fears that by focusing on actual inflation to determine when to stop, central banks may go too far. The bank has lifted its target for the federal funds rate to a range of 4.0-4.25%, with a 75bp hike in September and smaller rises thereafter.

“For investors, this means more pressure on interest rates, more weakness in risk assets and further upside for the super-strong dollar,” said Harris.

“In our view, these trends only turn when markets price the full fury of central bank hikes and we are not quite there yet.”

For now, the dollar has run into some profit taking from a market that is very long the currency after a month of sustained gains.

So rapidly has the dollar risen on the yen that Japanese authorities are becoming increasingly vocal in protesting their currency’s decline, sparking speculation of intervention and putting pressure on the Bank of Japan to moderate its policy of yield curve control.

Japan’s government must take steps as needed to counter excessive declines in the yen, a senior government official said on Sunday, after it hit its weakest level against the dollar in 24 years.

Yet after an early dip, the dollar soon rallied to be up 0.4% at 143.14 yen, though still off last week’s top of 144.99.

The dollar index stood at 108.770, having reached as high as 110.790 last week.

The euro nudged up 0.4% to $1.0080, and away from its recent trough of $0.9865.

Analysts at ANZ noted the dollar over the past month was up roughly 9% against the euro and the Chinese yuan, 12% against the British pound and 19% against the yen.

“The rampant USD is causing strain in developing countries, which are finding imports priced in USD more expensive,” they said in a note.

“With Fed speakers using every opportunity to hammer home a hawkish message and quantitative tightening looming, the USD is not about to dramatically turn.”

The ascent of the dollar combined with high bond yields has been a drag for gold, which was hovering at $1,713 an ounce after hitting a low of $1,690 last week.

Oil prices have also been trending lower amid concerns about a global economic slowdown, though cuts to supply did prompt a 4% bounce on Friday.

On Monday, Brent was down $1.29 at $91.55, while U.S. crude shed $1.28 to $85.51 per barrel.


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UN says: Extraordinary economic dev among BD’s many achievements




Greeting Bangladesh, the United Nations on Sunday (26th March) said Bangladesh has many accomplishments — extraordinary economic development, a significant cultural legacy, leadership on a global stage for climate-vulnerable countries, and immense generosity in welcoming and hosting nearly a million Rohingya refugees.

“The hospitality of Bangladesh’s diverse people is just one of the many facets of a country that my colleagues and I have been fortunate to experience every day,” UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis said in a press statement on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I warmly congratulate the people of Bangladesh on the 52nd anniversary of independence,” she said.

Over the last 52 years, Bangladesh has made impressive and remarkable achievements: evolving from a war-torn country to one of the leading economic powers in South Asia, standing at the threshold of upcoming graduation from least developed countries (LDCs) in 2026, and planned achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030, she said.

The UN fully supports Bangladesh’s commitments to economic and sustainable development and appreciates the strong and long-lasting relationship with Bangladesh and our shared values.

The constitution of the country, which was adopted even before Bangladesh had formally become a member of the United Nations in 1974, guarantees fundamental human rights. The right to freedom of speech, religion, movement and assembly, the right to speak one’s own language and other rights that are in line with the UN charter, said the UNRC.

“Wishing you all a Happy Independence Day!” — she concluded.

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PM Sheikh Hasina, President pays homage to Liberation War Martyrs




Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina & President M Abdul Hamid paid rich tributes to the Liberation War martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka early on Sunday (26th March), marking the 53rd Independence and National Day.

The president first placed the wreath at the altar of the memorial followed by the prime minister.

After laying the wreaths, the president and the premier stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect for the memories of the martyrs of the Great War of Liberation in 1971.

A smartly turned-out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force presented a state salute at that time while the bugles played the last post.

The head of the state and the head of the government also signed the visitors’ book kept on the memorial premises.

Flanked by her party leaders, Sheikh Hasina, also the president of the Awami League, paid glowing tributes to the Liberation War martyrs by placing another wreath at the National Memorial on behalf of her party.

Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, senior AL leaders, leaders of AL-led 14-party alliance and high civil and military officials, among others, were present there.

Later, the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) speaker and the chief justice also paid homage to the martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum.

Every year, March 26 brings the most tragic reminiscence of history’s blackest episode that heralded a nine-month bloody ordeal from the night of March 25, 1971, achieving the long-cherished independence on December 16 the same year at the cost of a sea of blood.

In the wake of the military crackdown by the then Pakistan occupation force, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh through the then EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) wireless at 00-30 hours on March 26 (the night following March 25) in 1971 at his historic Road-32 residence at Dhanmondi in Dhaka.

The day is very auspicious and precious to the Bengali nation.

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Bangladesh Observed Independence Day Today




The Independence Day of Bangladesh is celebrated on 26 March as a national holiday in Bangladesh. It commemorates the country’s declaration of independence from Pakistan in the early hours of 25 March 1971.

In the 1970 Pakistani general election, under the military government of President Yahya Khan, the largest political party Awami League, led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a clear majority in East Pakistan national seats as well as provincial assembly. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto conspired with Yahya Khan and changed their position, refusing to hand over power to Sheikh Mujib.

Negotiations began between the two sides, however, the ruling West Pakistani leadership did not trust Sheikh Mujib, due to instances such as the Agartala conspiracy case. When it became evident that the promises made by the West Pakistan government were not going to be kept, many East Pakistani Bangla-speaking Muslims and Hindus began a spirited struggle for independence.

On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujib gave his famous speech at the Ramna Racecourse, in which he called for a non-cooperation movement.

Authorities, mostly West Pakistani personnel, rounded up Bengali armed forces officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel. Forced disappearances went rampant. On the evening of 25 March, in an interview with David Frost, Sheikh Mujib still called out openly for negotiation and a united Pakistan. That night the Pakistan Army began Operation Searchlight, conclusively signalling West Pakistan was not ready for a transfer of political power to the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[4]

The Independence of Bangladesh was declared on 26 March 1971 at the first watch by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman . Another declaration was read out on 27 March 1971, by Major Ziaur Rahman, on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Major Zia (who was also a BDF Sector Commander of Sector 1 and later of Sector 11) raised an independent Z Force brigade, Chittagong and the guerilla struggle officially began.

The people of Bangladesh then took part in a nine-month guerilla war against the Pakistan Army and their collaborators, including paramilitary Razakars. This resulted in the death of about 3 million Bangladeshi, as per Awami league and Indian sources, in the Bangladesh War of Independence and Bangladesh Genocide. The BDF, later with military support from India, defeated the Pakistan Army on 16 December 1971, leading to the end of the war and the Surrender of Pakistan.

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