Asian markets mixed after soft Wall Street lead
HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed on Thursday following a soft lead from Wall Street while a report in China said the country’s central bank would boost liquidity to help kick start the economy. The euro rose following a successful debt sale by Spain that eased concerns of a fresh crisis in the troubled eurozone.
Tokyo slipped 0.82 percent, or 78.88 points, to 9,588.38, Seoul fell 0.23 percent, or 4.67 points, to 1,999.86 and Sydney closed 0.32 percent, or 14.0 points, higher at 4,362.7. Hong Kong rose 1.03 percent, or 214.28 points, to 20,995.01 and Shanghai ended flat, dipping 2.22 points to 2,378.63.
With the eurozone debt crisis back in focus, investors were looking to a sale of Spain’s benchmark 10-year government bonds for an indication of market confidence in the country where unemployment is soaring and output diving. Asia had rallied on Wednesday after Madrid successfully sold 12- and 18-month debt, albeit at a higher rate.
On Thursday it said it had sold slightly more than its target of benchmark 10-year government bonds and although its borrowing rate rose slightly it was in line with expectations as well as below the critical six percent level. The euro rose to $1.3132 and 107.02 yen in early European trade, against $1.3120 and 106.59 yen late Wednesday in New York. The dollar firmed to 81.50 yen from 81.23 yen.
Investors are also looking ahead to a G20 meeting on Thursday and Friday that will discuss boosting the International Monetary Fund’s debt-crisis war chest to $500 billion. “Amid growing concerns over Spanish (debt) financing, the meeting failing to agree on enough expansion of the safety net would put selling pressure on the euro,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, currency strategist at Barclays Capital.
Japan Wednesday pledged $60.0 billion to the fund, saying it was a critical part of the organisation’s bid to boost a global firewall against Europe’s debt crisis.
Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Poland are among the nations that have since pledged billions of dollars to the effort, but it was unclear what figure would be settled on at the meeting.
Before Tokyo’s market opened, Japan posted a record 4.410 trillion yen ($54.2 billion) trade deficit for the 12 months to March as car and electronics exports slumped while energy imports soared after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The country’s overseas shipments took a hammering last year as the March 11 quake-tsunami as well as floods in Thailand — where many Japanese firms have plants — slammed production, while the European debt crisis cut into demand.
However, figures also showed a deficit of just 82.6 billion yen in March, well below economists’ expectations for a deficit of 223 billion yen. afp