Asian stocks steady, poised for weekly gains in volatile trading By Reuters

©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman stands in front of a screen showing Japan’s Nikkei stock average, stock indicators from the U.S. and other countries outside a brokerage house in Tokyo, Japan December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Alun John

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian stocks headed for a second consecutive week of gains on Friday, though trading was choppy amid aggressive U.S. monetary policy, changes in Chinese economic policy and continued tensions in the markets. commodity markets due to the war in Ukraine.

MSCI’s broader index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan traded flat but rose 1% on the week.

it also changed little after closing the previous day at a nine-week high.

Hong Kong shares were a drag on the regional benchmark, falling 0.5%, weighed down by tech stocks as US-listed names .

Australian shares rose 0.4% helped by miners, while Chinese shares lost 0.4%.

“In terms of Asia, we have seen asset prices stabilize a bit this week following last week’s statement from the Chinese Vice Premier. This may not be sustainable unless we see additional easing and better visibility.” on the regulatory front, but it seemed to have the desired effect in terms of limiting downside risks,” said Carlos Casanova, senior Asia economist at UBP.

“Though what we are starting to see is a little more caution from global investors when it comes to the US economy and what that means for Asia,” he added.

Last week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said Beijing would provide support to the Chinese economy, initially lifting Chinese and Hong Kong stocks.

Investors were also watching to see if the Bank of Japan would step in to buy Japanese Government Bonds (JGB) as its yield target came under pressure.

The 10-year JGB yield rose to 0.235% on Friday morning, surpassing the level at which the BOJ offered to buy an unlimited amount of JGBs at 0.25% on February 10, as part of a policy to maintain interest rates at their current ultra. -low levels.

Japanese bond yields are being pushed higher by US Treasury yields, which have risen alongside expectations of a more aggressive pace of rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve. .

US 10-year notes last yielded 2.3681% just below Tuesday’s 22-month high of 2.417%.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans was the latest US policymaker to sound more aggressive, saying Thursday that the Fed needs to raise interest rates “at the right time” this year and in 2023. to curb high inflation before it becomes embedded in the US psychology and balances out. harder to get rid of.

The divergence between US and Japanese monetary policy has weighed on the yen. On Friday, the dollar rose an additional 0.41% to 121.84 yen, a new multi-year high. Higher commodity prices fueled by the war in Ukraine are also hurting the Japanese currency as Japan imports most of its energy.

The dollar’s gains against other currencies have been less dramatic, however, with the US currency index against six pairs down a bit at 98.536.

Overnight, the three major US stock indices each rose more than 1% as investors snapped up battered shares of chipmakers and big-growth names, supported by a drop in oil prices. . [.N]

the future advanced 0.1% in early Asian trading.

Oil continued to fall a bit as the United States and its allies considered releasing more stored oil to cool markets. falling 0.22% to $118.77 a barrel and 0.5% to $111.74 a barrel, but prices were still very high by historical standards. [O/R]

it remained high at $1961.9 an ounce, 0.22% more. ()

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