Asian markets rise high as Hong Kong up all-time high record

HONG KONG, Jan. 16 2018

Asian markets mostly rise again Tuesday with Hong Kong clocking its highest ever close while the dollar struggled to recover from further losses against major peers.

While there were few leads from Wall Street owing to a holiday, investors continued to push into equity markets in Asia to maintain a healthy start to 2018, with Hong Kong skirting its all-time high.The Hang Seng Index sank on Monday for the first time this year as a record-breaking 14-day surge came to an end on profit-taking.

But the optimism running through global markets, combined with a flood of cash from mainland Chinese investors, has fired up buying in the financial hub. And on Tuesday the HSI closed up 1.8 percent — topping its best-ever finish seen on October 30, 2007, before the financial crisis kicked in and sent global indexes plunging.

It is also just short of its all-time high of 31,958.41, though analysts are expecting it to soon break that barrier.Tokyo climbed one percent to a more than 26-year high, Shanghai added 0.8 percent and Seoul was 0.7 percent up while Manila jumped 0.8 percent.

Jakarta, Wellington, Taipei, and Bangkok also saw strong rallies but Sydney slipped 0.5 percent.With confidence in the global economy improving and central banks beginning to shift their policy stance away from crisis-era stimulus, the dollar has suffered weeks of selling pressure, with the euro and pound the main winners.

The European single currency surged last week on the back of news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was close to a coalition deal that will end months of uncertainty in the region’s top economy.And on Monday it almost broke $1.23 for the first time since December 2014 on strong economic data and after a key member of the European Central Bank hinted that it could start cutting back its bond-buying stimulus by September.

And despite uncertainty over Brexit, the pound is also sitting around levels against the dollar last touched in June 2016, when Britain voted to leave the European Union.Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA, warned the greenback could face further selling.

“With the dollar trading ‘three sheets to the wind’ and ‘wobbling like a drunken sailor’, there is a stronger chance that panic dollar selling will ensue and hammer the dollar lower,” he said.The yuan extended Monday’s advance that followed news Germany’s central bank would include the Chinese currency in its own reserves, the latest step towards its internationalization.

The currency hit a two-year high 6.4138 against the dollar after Bundesbank board member Andreas Dombret’s comments. The announcement follows the International Monetary Fund’s decision in 2016 to include the yuan in its elite basket of currencies.

On oil markets, Brent held around the $70 mark but was facing profit-taking pressure after recent gains, with dealers also concerned that Russia could review its role in an output freeze with OPEC owing to the improving prices.

Shane Chanel, equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers, said: “I believe there is still further short-term upside. However, I think it’s difficult to see prices going much higher from here.

“If we continue to hear the rhetoric of an end to production cuts, the free-for-all approach could see Brent and WTI tumbling back to the $50 level in the second half of 2018.”In early European trade, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index slipped a couple of points while Frankfurt’s DAX 30 gained 0.2 percent and the Paris CAC 40 rose about 01.  Percent.


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