Business | Asia shares gain reprieve as bond rout takes a breather
Foreign exchange trading desk, showing  U.S. President elect Donald Trump on TV and the yen's exchange rate against the U.S. dollar (L top) and Japan's Nikkei average in Tokyo, Japan, November 9, 2016. Reuters/Toru Hanai
Foreign exchange trading desk, showing U.S. President elect Donald Trump on TV and the yen's exchange rate against the U.S. dollar (L top) and Japan's Nikkei average in Tokyo, Japan, November 9, 2016. Reuters/Toru Hanai

Asia shares gain reprieve as bond rout takes a breather

Asian shares rode a rally in Wall Street equities as the sell-off in global bonds and sharp gains in the dollar paused, at least for now

November 16, 2016 10:20 AM (UTC+8)

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2% in early trade on Wednesday, bouncing back from a four-month low touched the previous day.

Asian shares won the reprieve from a rally in Wall Street shares as the sell-off in global bonds and sharp gains in the dollar paused for now.

Japan’s Nikkei rose one% to a nine-month high thanks to the fall in the yen against the dollar.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.29% to a record high while the S & P 500 gained 0.75%.

Since Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US Presidential election last week, US shares have rallied while US bond prices tumbled, pushing up their yields sharply, as investors expect higher inflation under his presidency.

His plans to cut taxes and boost infrastructure spending would increase demand, while his proposals to deport illegal immigrants and impose tariffs on cheap imports, if implemented, are seen likely to push up prices.

“The markets are having a bit of a pause at the moment. But people still want to do more of this trade. If you look at the US markets, investors are looking at coming infrastructure spending and so on and they are rotating to stocks from bonds,” said Yoshinori Shigemi, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo.

The yield on 10-year US Treasuries slipped to 2.230 percent from Monday’s 11-month high of 2.302 percent, although that is sharply above its levels around 1.86 percent before the election.

US retail sales rose more than expected in October, pointing to sustained economic strength that could allow the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next month.

US interest rate futures are pricing in an 85 percent chance of a rate hike, compared to 75 percent before the election.

Nikko SMBC Securities estimates US two-year notes are currently pricing in five Fed rate hikes in the next two years, said senior strategist Makoto Noji.

“If we base our assumption on (Fed Chair Janet) Yellen’s gradualist approach, which can be roughly translated as two rate hikes per year, we could say that the market has already priced in tightening they could reasonably imagine at this point,” he said.

“But of course if Trump’s policies stoke inflation that cannot be contained by two rate hikes per year, the US bond market could see big moves again,” he added.

Sharp gains in US bond yields are seen as boosting the attraction of dollars.

The dollar’s index against a basket of six major currencies hit its highest level in almost a year.

It stood at 100.16, standing just 0.3 percent below its 13-year peak hit in December last year.

The euro traded at US$1.0724, just above Monday’s US$1.0709, its lowest level in almost a year.

The US currency fetched 109.03 yen, having hit 5 1/2-month high of 109.34 yen.

Gold traded at US$1,228.6 per ounce, not far from a 5 1/2-month low of US$1,211.8 seen on Monday.

The dollar’s strength has fanned fears investors could shift their funds to the US from emerging markets. Emerging market stocks managed to rise 0.3 percent on Tuesday after having fallen 7 percent over the previous four sessions.

In contrast, oil prices hovered near their highest levels in about two weeks after having jumped nearly 6 percent on Tuesday on bets OPEC members will agree to cut output when they meet later this month.

US crude futures stood at US$45.67 per barrel, after having risen to US$46.09 late on Tuesday, their highest since Nov. 2.

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