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Monday, August 19th, 2019

Yen Falls as Fed, BOJ Decide; Asia Stocks Mixed: Markets Wrap

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by September 21, 2017 General

Andreea Papuc, Bloomberg

The yen declined and the dollar extended gains against major peers as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan announced diverging monetary policies. Stocks in Tokyo pared gains while they were mixed elsewhere in Asia.

The Japanese currency fell to a two-month low as Bloomberg’s dollar index rose for a second day. The U.S. central bank set an October start for shrinking its balance sheet and maintained a forecast for another rate increase this year, while the BOJ kept its monetary stimulus unchanged. Japan’s Topix index wiped out almost all the session’s advance. The 10-year Treasury yield approached 2.30 percent. Oil held above $50 a barrel, gold retreated and base metals tumbled.

While U.S. policy makers left the benchmark interest rate unchanged, markets reacted to officials’ hawkish forecast for where rates will be at the end of the year as they begin a reversal of quantitative easing. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his board left the target interest rates and asset purchase program unchanged on Thursday, a decision expected by all 45 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, though one dissenting member unexpectedly emerged.

A rout in iron ore continued amid mounting concerns that global supplies are set to expand while demand from China will decline. Most-active SGX AsiaClear futures in Singapore sank as much 4.3 percent to $64.13 a metric ton, the lowest since July, with the contract headed for a third weekly loss.

What to watch out for the rest of this week:

New Zealand’s economy expanded at a faster pace in the second quarter, with GDP rising 0.8 percent, matching economists’ median forecast. It’s the last major economic release before the Sept. 23 election. Philippine and Taiwan rate decisions are due Thursday. Brexit strategy is in focus as Theresa May prepares to outline her revised approach on Friday. Campaigning continues in Germany, days before the Sept. 24 election. The OECD publishes the Interim Economic Outlook in Paris.

Here are the main moves in markets:
Stocks

Japan’s Topix index climbed 0.1 percent as of 2:26 p.m. Tokyo time after rising as much as 0.7 percent. The Kospi index was little changed and Australia’s main benchmark fell 0.8 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index swung between gains and losses with the Shanghai Composite Index. Futures on the S&P 500 Index were flat. The main gauge rose 0.1 percent. The index closed at an all-time high, but hasn’t moved more than 0.3 percent for five sessions.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2 percent, adding to a 0.5 percent surge on Wednesday. The yen slid 0.3 percent to 112.49 per dollar. It dropped 0.6 percent on Wednesday. The Australian dollar fell 0.7 percent to 79.76 U.S. cents. The New Zealand dollar lost 0.6 percent to 73.14 U.S. cents. The kiwi has been sensitive to opinion polls ahead of an election this weekend, jumping on Wednesday when the latest survey showed the ruling National Party surging back into the lead over the main opposition Labour Party. The euro was at $1.1880, down 0.1 percent. It declined 0.9 percent in the previous session. The onshore yuan dropped after the PBOC weakened its daily reference to the lowest since Sept. 1.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries was steady at 2.27 percent, the highest since July. Australian 10-year bond yields climbed about one basis point to 2.84 percent.

Commodities

Gold lost 0.3 percent to $1,297.70 an ounce. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 0.5 percent to $50.66 a barrel following a 1.9 percent advance. A drop in U.S. fuel supplies boosted the outlook for crude demand. Copper extended loses, falling as much as 1.3 percent on the London Metals Exchange before trading down 1.1 percent at $6,454.50 a metric ton. Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange were on the cusp of closing in bear market territory.

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