Asian shares firm on US jobs, China’s export growth data

| Updated on: Nov 10, 2014

Asian shares held firm in early Monday trade after US jobs data pointed to solid economic growth, while China’s export performance showed more resilience than some had expected.

US employers added 214,000 jobs in October, slightly below economists’ median forecast of 231,000, but logging the ninth consecutive month of gains of more than 200,000, the longest stretch since 1994.

Unemployment fell to a six-year low of 5.8 per cent, but that did not improve wage growth, with average hourly earnings rising a slim 0.1 per cent, falling short of a projected 0.2 per cent gain.

“It was a familiar combination. Rising payrolls, a falling jobless rate and stagnant wages. All this means is that the US economy is moderately recovering, and no major shift in the Fed’s policy outlook, which should reduces market volatility,’’ Tohru Yamamoto, chief fixed income strategist at Daiwa Securities, said in a report.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei, however, slipped as the yen rebounded on profit-taking in the dollar following the US payroll data.

US share prices ended flat on Friday following the payrolls data as some investors took some money off the table after the market’s rally to record highs.

Dollar vs other currencies

The US dollar also stepped back from a four-year peak against a basket of currencies. The dollar index stood at 87.539, following a 0.4 per cent fall on Friday as it retreated from 88.190 — a high not seen since June 2010.

As the dollar slipped, the euro fetched $1.2460, off a two-year low of $1.2358 hit on Friday.

The yen traded at 114.54 to the dollar, about one percentage point above seven-year low of 115.60 per dollar hit on Friday.

The dollar’s fall lifted the battered gold price from 4 1/2-year lows. Gold traded at $1,170.15 per ounce, above Friday’s low of $1,131.85.

Commodity currencies also won something of a reprieve, with the Australian dollar popping back above 86 US cents from a four-year low of $0.8540.

China’s export growth

Also helping underpin commodity currencies, data out of China on Saturday showed export growth did not slow as much as feared.

“Overall, the data painted a similar macro picture as in previous months: Robust export growth led by the US and ASEAN demand, and depressed imports driven by falling commodity prices and soft domestic demand,’’ said Jian Chang, an analyst at Barclays.

Exports grew 11.6 per cent in October, slowing from a 15.3 per cent jump in September but beating expectations of a 10.6 per cent rise. Imports were weaker than expected.

But the official Shanghai Securities News said on Monday that the above-forecast export growth and heavy trade surplus in October showed signs of manipulation as well as inflows of speculative hot money, quoting economists.

Inflation data

The next focus is China inflation data due later in the day. China’s annual inflation is seen at 1.6 per cent in October, steady from the previous month, but way below the official target of 3.5 per cent.

Published on November 25, 2017

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