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The Financial Express

Yields up with dollar as Fed officials signal more hikes; Asian stocks firm

| Updated: August 09, 2022 14:44:00


Passersby wearing protective face masks walk in front of an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei share average, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato Passersby wearing protective face masks walk in front of an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei share average, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Asia-Pacific bond yields followed US Treasury yields higher on Wednesday and the dollar continued its climb after Federal Reserve officials signalled they are nowhere near done raising interest rates.

Yields were also helped as demand for the safest assets retreated following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's safe arrival in Taiwan, despite threats of action from China, which views the island as a breakaway province. The safe-haven yen continued its slide.

That lifted stocks in Asia, despite the slide on Wall Street overnight.

Japan's Nikkei gained 0.5 per cent, rebounding from Tuesday's two-week closing low, while Chinese blue chips jumped 0.86 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.76 per cent.

"Hong Kong and Chinese shares have recovered around a third of yesterday's losses because of relief that there was no major confrontation overnight," Steven Leung, executive director for institutional sales at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.

"However investors are going to remain nervous due to the military exercises planned for after Pelosi's departure."

A trio of Fed policymakers signalled on Tuesday that there would be no let up in the tightening campaign aimed at taming the highest inflation since the 1980s, even though it will take rates to a level that will more significantly curb economic activity.

Two of them, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, are widely regarded as doves.

Traders now see a chance of about 44 per cent that the Fed will hike by another 75 basis points at its next meeting in September.

Benchmark long-term Treasury yields were around 2.71 per cent in Tokyo, not far from the overnight high of 2.774 per cent following a 14 basis point surge.

The dollar-yen rate , which tends to closely track US yields, jumped 0.3 per cent to 133.57, extending Tuesday's 1.2 per cent surge.

The US dollar index , which gauges the currency against the yen and five other major peers, was 0.04 per cent higher at 106.41, after rebounding 1 per cent overnight following its slide to a nearly one-month low at 105.03.

Bonds and the yen, traditional safe havens, lost some sheen after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan was so far only met by strong words and the announcement of live-far military drills by Beijing, allaying fears of more extreme measures.

Gold edged 0.13 per cent higher to $1,762.09 per ounce, but following a 0.68 per cent retreat the previous session.

Meanwhile, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares edged 0.11 per cent higher, helped by the rally in Japan as bargain hunters came in following Tuesday's decline to a two-week closing low.

China's CSI 300 was also rebounding from a steep slide that took it to a nearly two-month intraday trough in the previous session. Gains for Hong Kong's Hang Seng were led by a surge in tech stocks, with an index of the shares jumping 1.8 per cent.

Taiwan's stock benchmark, though, was about flat, while Australian equities declined 0.52 per cent, on course to snap a six-day winning streak.

US stock futures edged 0.07 per cent higher, following the S&P 500's 0.67 per cent drop overnight.

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