Asian markets jump after Chinese break, US and Europe cautious ahead of ECB meeting

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Asian markets end largely higher after Chinese holiday weekend... Nikkei pushes above its 15,000 mark... US and Europe sees sluggish trading ahead of ECB meeting this Thursday... and India announces positive plans for the economy and banking reform...

Asian Markets End Higher
As China got back to work after a holiday weekend, Asian markets ended the day mostly up. The Nikkei, and Sensex both gained 0.7% while the star of the day was the hang Seng with a rise of 0.9%. Read the full story.

Nikkei breaks 15,000: first time in two months
The Nikkei average has been sub-15,000 for around 2 months but Tuesday’s trading saw it break that barrier as domestic-demand shares picked up as concerns over Japan’s economy ease. There are some areas though that are not yet seeing the same growth; stocks of exporters in particular are generally still flat or in decline. Read the full story.

US and European trading slow ahead of ECB meeting this week
With the latest figures from the Eurozone showing a further drop in inflation, including Germany, markets were understandably cautious on Tuesday. The European Central Bank meets on Thursday and investors will be hoping to see some measures to tackle the deflation threat. Analysts seem unusually quiet on what those measures might be, so Wednesday may also see some slow trading. US investors are additionally awaiting the latest domestic employment figures, due on Friday. Read the full story.

Oil prices down 
The price of oil fell slightly on Tuesday, as OPEC’s output forecast remains high. However, there are concerns of the protracted unrest in Ukraine, with the threat of full-blown civil war, could damage energy supplies and send prices soaring. Read the full story.

Reserve Bank of India loosens credit
The governor of the Reserve Bank of India today loosened rules on credit and promised not to raise interest rates from the current 8% level as long as inflation continues to ease. The Bank’s policy review will put pressure on the new government to keep control of public spending and push through planned reforms to ensure that the nation’s economy gets back on track. Among other measures announced today, foreign investors will be allowed to participate in domestic exchange traded currency derivatives. Read the full story.

New Delhi’s Finance Ministry calls for non core sell offs
The Indian Finance Ministry has asked banks to look at the possibility of selling off non-core interests such as insurance. The plan is one of a range of ideas that have been discussed at a meeting of the largest banks in India, as the industry needs to bolster capital reserves. Other ideas include public share offers and larger investors. The banks also discussed tough regulations on wilful defaulters with the Ministry. Read the full story.

South Korea offers 30 year dollar bonds
As the cost of insuring South Korea’s national debt has fallen to a six year low, Asia’s fourth-largest economy has issued 30 year US dollar bonds. There is also a new issue of euro-denominated bonds, its first since 2006. South Korea has record currency reserves and experts believe the bond issues should be very popular with investors. Read the full story.