Asian markets directionless

Asian equities are mostly flat

Asian equity markets have opened in a sedate fashion today, mostly trading around each side of unchanged as volumes are muted by the China and Japan holidays. The somewhat confusing price action overnight in New York has left the region content to sit in wait-and-see mode with Covid-19 nerves regionally, offsetting the bullishness of the Wall Street reopening gnomes.

Overnight, the S&P 500 rose 0.28%, while the Nasdaq retreated by 0.48%, even as the Dow Jones climbed 0.71%. Equity markets ignored the US Manufacturing ISM data for April, which came in at 60.50, still expansionary but well below market forecasts of 65.0. The equity markets are instead concentrating on announcements around New York of the impending easing of pandemic restrictions, with the reopening/recovery narrative in the ascendant. In Asia, futures on all three have fallen, giving back much of the overnight gains and suggesting that despite the noise, equity markets are as directionless as other asset classes over the past two sessions.

The South Korean Kospi is down 0.35% after the higher inflation print this morning. Hong Kong is unchanged, while Singapore has fallen 0.30% as locally transmitted Covid-19 fears persist. Kuala Lumpur has climbed 0.10% after oil prices rose last night, and Jakarta has increased by 0.35%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia held rates at 0.10%, as expected. The central bank raised its economic forecasts, saying it projected unemployment to drop to 5.0% at the end of 2021, down from the current level of 5.6%. At the same time, the RBA said it would consider extending its USD200 billion QE program into 2022 and did not anticipate raising rates before 2024. RBA Governor Philip Lowe acknowledged that the economic recovery has been faster than expected. Still, the bank signalled that it remains committed to a dovish stance. Australian markets are up slightly, with the ASX 2oo rising 0.56% and the All Ordinaries climbing 0.50%.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Jeffrey Halley

With more than 30 years of FX experience – from spot/margin trading and NDFs through to currency options and futures – Jeffrey Halley is OANDA’s senior market analyst for Asia Pacific, responsible for providing timely and relevant macro analysis covering a wide range of asset classes. He has previously worked with leading institutions such as Saxo Capital Markets, DynexCorp Currency Portfolio Management, IG, IFX, Fimat Internationale Banque, HSBC and Barclays. A highly sought-after analyst, Jeffrey has appeared on a wide range of global news channels including Bloomberg, BBC, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, Sky TV, Channel News Asia as well as in leading print publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He was born in New Zealand and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School.

Jeffrey Halley

Jeffrey Halley

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