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Asia markets mostly up as dealers brush off Trump fear

by August 24, 2017 General

Most Asian markets on Thursday brushed off Wall Street’s retreat, with analysts playing down Donald Trump’s government shutdown threat and the focus turning to a key central bankers’ meeting.

In a firebrand speech to supporters the embattled US president warned he was ready to shut down federal business to push through his controversial Mexican border wall, while also threatening to tear up a trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

The outburst fuelled concerns that the nascent administration is struggling to find consensus on Capitol Hill — even with its own Republican party — raising questions about Trump’s ability to push through promised tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending.

It also led to a warning from Fitch that it would review its US sovereign rating if the government was shut down.

Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at the investment strategy section of Daiwa Securities, said: “Trump’s remarks are likely to keep impacting the markets for now — at least until Congress resumes.”

All three main indexes in New York ended in the red.

However, House Speaker Paul Ryan said there would not be any closure of government, while analysts also pointed out that such a crisis was unlikely and Trump was probably bluffing.

“It’s Congress which will decide on the debt ceiling limit and avoid the shutdown — not the president,” said AxiTrader chief market strategist Greg McKenna.

He was also confident Trump’s economic agenda could be pushed through, adding: “It’s likely the Congress will need to work out what it wants to do on tax cuts. I’m still expecting some progress there in the months ahead.”

Focus on bankers

Asian markets were mostly in positive territory. Hong Kong was up 0.4 percent in the afternoon, heading for a third successive gain as traders returned to work after Wednesday’s typhoon.

Sydney rose 0.1 percent, Singapore was 0.4 percent higher and Seoul put on 0.4 percent, while there were also gains in Taipei.

However, Tokyo eased 0.4 percent on the back of a stronger yen, while Shanghai closed down 0.5 percent.

In early European trading London, Paris and Frankfurt each rose 0.2 percent.

Attention is now on the Jackson Hole symposium in Wyoming where the world’s top bankers are gathering with US Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.

With the US and eurozone economies both picking up, dealers are hoping for some pointers about the future of monetary policy.

The euro has rallied in recent weeks — hitting a near eight-year high against sterling — with the ECB expected at some point to start winding in its massive stimulus, while another round of upbeat economic data Wednesday ramped up those expectations.

“The market is paying close attention to the planned speeches by… Yellen and… Draghi for clues and any significant remark as central banks move toward scaling back their easy monetary policies,” Mizuho Bank said in a note.

“But now that minutes of the ECB’s policy meeting have shown that policymakers have voiced concerns about the euro’s strength, many people believe (Draghi) would avoid making significant remarks.”

Key figures around 0720 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 19,353.77 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.4 percent at 27,518.32

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,271.51 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,396.62

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1796 from $1.1813 at 2030 GMT

Pound/euro: DOWN at 1.0841 euros from 1.0869 euros

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2789 from $1.2801

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.19 yen from 108.98 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN eight cents at $48.33 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN three cents at $52.54

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 21,812.09 (close)