World shares advance on surprise US job recovery

Reuters TOKYO | Updated on June 08, 2020

US stock futures and Asian shares advanced on Monday after a surprise recovery in US employment gave further confidence of a quick economic recovery after many weeks of lockdowns aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic.

US S&P500 futures rose 0.5 per cent to stand near their highest levels since late February while Japan's Nikkei opened more than 1 per cent higher. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 per cent in early trade, with South Korea's Kospi rising 1.4 per cent. The Australian share market was closed for a holiday.

US non-farm payrolls rose by 2.509 million jobs last month, in contrast with consensus estimates of a fall in 8 million jobs after a record plunge of 20.687 million in April.

The Labour Department's closely watched employment report also showed the jobless rate falling to 13.3 per cent last month from 14.7 per cent in April, a post-Second World War high. Economists had forecast the rate jumping to 19.8 per cent.

“Although there are some risk factors such as weekend demonstrations in the United States and concerns about the second wave of the coronavirus, hopes of economic reopening are taking the lead,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

US bond prices have tumbled, with the 10-year Treasuries yield rising to as high as 0.959 per cent on Friday, a level last seen in mid-March.

The sharp gains in US bond yields over the last couple of days put more focus on the US central bank, which will hold a two-day policy meeting ending on Wednesday.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said the US economy could feel the weight of the economic shutdown for more than a year.

Chinese trade data published on Sunday also showed the ongoing impact from the epidemic.

Exports contracted in May as global coronavirus lockdowns continued to devastate demand, while a sharper-than-expected fall in imports pointed to mounting pressure on manufacturers as global growth stalls.

Oil up, gold down

Oil prices rose after OPEC, Russia and allies agreed on Saturday to extend record oil production cuts until the end of July.

OPEC+ had initially agreed in April that it would cut supply by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) during May-June to prop up prices that collapsed due to the coronavirus crisis. Those cuts were due to taper to 7.7 million bpd from July to December.

Brent crude rose more than 2 per cent to $43.32 per barrel while US crude futures gained 2 per cent to $40.36.

Gold slipped to $1,681.0 per ounce, near its lowest levels since late April.

In the currency market, safe-haven currencies were softer while risk-sensitive ones outperformed. The Japanese yen stood at 109.67 to the dollar, near Friday's 10-week low of 109.85.

The euro changed hands at $1.1303, not far off three-month high of $1.1384 touched on Friday while the Australian dollar stood at $0.6993, near its highest this year.

The offshore Chinese yuan hit its highest level in five weeks at 7.0669 to the dollar.

Published on June 08, 2020

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