Asian markets rise despite China’s zero-Covid pledge

Asian markets rise despite China’s zero-Covid pledge

Asian markets rise despite China’s zero-Covid pledge

Summary :

Despite the official stance, “there are still hopes in the market” that Beijing may relax Covid-19 restrictions in the coming months, Iris Pang, chief economist for Greater China at ING Wholesale Banking, told AFP.

“Traders believe that the Chinese government cannot permanently hold these existing Covid measures, and therefore the only direction is… looser Covid measures,” she said.

China is the last major economy wedded to a strategy of extinguishing Covid-19 outbreaks as they emerge, despite the widespread disruption to businesses and international supply chains.

“Obviously, China feels the urgency to normalise the economy… But the political leadership will not adopt ‘living with Covid’

Asian stocks made gains on Monday, with a fresh rally seen in Hong Kong even after China reaffirmed its commitment to its economically painful zero- Covid policy.Global markets and oil prices were buoyant last week on hopes that Beijing may begin to roll back policies aimed at stamping out the disease within its borders.But on Saturday, the Chinese government said it would “unswervingly” stick to its current plan, which involves harsh lockdowns, with strict quarantine and testing regimens for even the smallest clusters of cases .Despite the official stance, “there are still hopes in the market” that Beijing may relax Covid -19 restrictions in the coming months, Iris Pang , chief economist for Greater China at ING Wholesale Banking, told AFP.“Traders believe that the Chinese government cannot permanently hold these existing Covid measures, and therefore the only direction is… looser Covid measures ,” she said.Ongoing large-scale events, such as the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, are also seen by investors as “a kind of water-testing” by Beijing, to see if cases and deaths rise significantly, Pang added.On Friday, Wall Street equities ended a volatile session higher after the latest US jobs data showed that hiring remained resilient and wages continued to rise, though at a slower pace.The data, released days ahead of critical US midterm elections , raised hopes of a soft landing for the world’s biggest economy despite aggressive Fed rate hikes aimed at taming inflation.All three main US indexes ended around 1.3 percent higher on Friday, and Tokyo shares extended those gains, with the benchmark Nikkei index ending 1.2 percent higher on Monday. Hong Kong shares dipped slightly at the open, then rocketed over three percent, adding to a jump of more than five percent in the previous session.

Bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen edged up 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

China is the last major economy wedded to a strategy of extinguishing Covid -19 outbreaks as they emerge, despite the widespread disruption to businesses and international supply chains .“Last week, the financial market was stirring on rumours of China reopening,” Raymond Yeung and Zhaopeng Xing of ANZ Research said in a note.“Obviously, China feels the urgency to normalise the economy… But the political leadership will not adopt ‘living with Covid ’,” the pair said.

“In our view, the availability of locally developed new vaccines will be a game changer”.

Seoul rose 0.9 percent, Taipei was up 1.5 percent and Sydney was up 0.6 percent. Jakarta added 0.2 percent, and Singapore was flat.

Dashed hopes of a Chinese reopening also drove down oil prices, which had rallied on Friday on the optimism that Beijing could soon change course, pushing up demand for crude.

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.1309 from $1.1376 Friday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $0.9930 from $0.9964

Dollar/yen: UP at 147.44 yen from 146.62 yen

Euro/pound: UP at 87.80 pence from 87.56 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.4 percent at $91.17 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.2 percent at $97.33 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 1.3 percent at 32,403.22 (close)