Morning Report

*Asia trades higher after remarks by Fed’s Powell gave US stocks a boost*

  • Asia markets traded up on Thursday morning ahead of a crucial meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, which many are hoping would help to ease trade tensions.
  • US stocks surged overnight, spurred by a remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who said he considers the central bank’s benchmark interest rate to be near a neutral level — an important distinction from remarks he made less than two months ago.

Asia markets traded up on Thursday morning ahead of a crucial meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, which many are hoping would help ease trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.93 percent in early trade while the Topix index added 0.86 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.27 percent.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 0.92 percent, with advances in most sectors. The energy subindex was up 0.97 percent, materials higher by 1.83 percent and the heavily weighed financial sector added 0.83 percent.

The session in Asia follows a major rally on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 600 points.

Stock market reaction in the U.S. was spurred by remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. He said Wednesday that he considers the central bank’s benchmark interest rate to be near a neutral level, an important distinction from remarks he made less than two months ago.

Powell’s comments pushed the U.S. dollar lower against a basket of its peers, with the dollar index trading at 96.833 Thursday morning, down from levels above 97.200 overnight.

In the broader currency market, the yen traded at 113.53 to the dollar while the Australian dollar was around $0.7304, jumping from levels below $0.7250.

*Oil falls 2.5% to 2018 low, settling at $50.29, on rising US stockpiles and OPEC uncertainty*.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday, continuing a recent run of losses, after U.S. crude inventories rose for the 10th week in a row.

The market also remains nervous over whether OPEC-led producing countries will reach an accord next week on output cuts. Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it would not cut output alone and Nigeria stopped short of committing to a new push to curb supplies.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.27, or 2.5 percent, to $50.29, the lowest settle price since early October 2017.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down $1.05, or 1.7 percent, at $59.16 a barrel by 2:19 p.m. ET.

U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 3.6 million barrels in the week to Nov. 23, exceeding expectations. After falling to 2½-year lows in September, crude stocks have risen 14 percent with 10 straight weeks of increases.

OPEC plus Russia and other allies meet on Dec. 6. Producers are discussing a supply curb of 1 million to 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) and possibly more, OPEC delegates have told Reuters.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the yuan reference rate at 6.9353 vs 6.95.

Source : Reuters

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