Asian markets mostly up with eyes on banker summit

 22 Aug 2017 - 11:18

Asian markets mostly up with eyes on banker summit

AFP

Hong Kong: Most Asian markets rose on Tuesday ahead of a closely watched meeting of central bankers later in the week, although concerns linger about Donald Trump's economic agenda and about geopolitical crises.

Equities have been struggling in recent weeks due to the continuing standoff between the US and North Korea, which has been compounded by Thursday's terror attack in Barcelona.

The US president's woes have fuelled speculation he will struggle to push through his market-friendly economy-boosting policies that fanned a global market rally in the months after his November election.

The loss of top adviser Steve Bannon last week and talk that a leading member of his finance team could also leave have added to his problems.

"My sense is that the outlook for the US, and thus the economy and the Fed, is clouded for many traders and investors because of the uncertainty around the Trump presidency and its agenda," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.

However, investors mostly moved back into buying mode Tuesday, sending Hong Kong 0.9 percent higher. Sydney closed up 0.4 percent, Singapore rose 0.6 percent and Seoul ended up 0.4 percent. Shanghai added 0.1 percent.

There were also gains in Taipei but Tokyo ended 0.1 percent off.

London opened 0.6 percent higher, Paris put on 0.5 percent and Frankfurt was 0.7 percent up.

Markets were little moved by Trump's speech clearing the way for the deployment of thousands more troops in Afghanistan, backtracking from a promise to pull US troops out of the 16-year conflict.

- Oil prices buoyed -

With few key catalysts to drive business, all eyes are on the Jackson Hole symposium in Wyoming at the end of the week, which brings together the world's top central bank chiefs.

Most attention at the meeting will be on Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen, with hopes for some clues about the bank's plans to wind in its huge bond holdings.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi's speech will also be closely watched as Frankfurt-based policymakers consider cutting back their own balance sheet.

"The key event this week is the Jackson Hole central bank policy forum," Citigroup strategists wrote in a note to clients.

"The market spotlight will likely focus on Yellen, given the generally low US inflation environment and the likelihood of Fed balance sheet reduction occurring relatively soon," they said, according to Bloomberg News.

The euro edged back from recent gains but analysts said they expect the single currency to resume its uptrend against the dollar for the time being.

On crude markets prices edged up as traders take heart from recent data pointing to falling US inventories, while Kuwait's oil minister said the OPEC cartel would discuss at its November meeting whether or not to continue with its production cuts.

Dealers will be closely following the release of stockpiles data from the American Petroleum Institute.