BANGKOK — Asian shares were mostly higher Thursday after an advance on Wall Street that ended a three-day losing streak.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index
gained 1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
rose 0.3% and the Shanghai Composite index
advanced 0.7% on reports that China’s central bank may ease policy to counter the blow to its slowing economy from pandemic-related shutdowns in major cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou.
in Sydney climbed 0.6%, and the Kospi
in Seoul was flat after South Korea’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 percentage points to 1.50%. That was its fourth increase since August 2021. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan
were little changed.
Shares in Singapore
were flat after the Singapore Monetary Authority tightened its policy by adjusting currency exchange rates in a more aggressive move than had been expected. It also raised its forecast for 2022 inflation to 2.5%-3.5% from 2.0%-3.0%.
Stocks rose in New Zealand
after the country’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday.
“Overall, there may be some relief with the positive moves in Wall Street, along with indications from the China authorities for further monetary easing. It was reported that China will cut banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) or use other policy tools “at an appropriate time,” Jun Rong Yeap of IG said in a commentary.
Investors appeared to brush aside fresh evidence that inflation remains widespread in the U.S. economy in a U.S. government report that rising energy costs pushed wholesale prices up a record 11.2% last month from a year earlier.
That report comes a day after the department reported that consumer prices remain at their highest levels in generations.
Rising prices are driving the Federal Reserve and many other central banks to tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates, among other measures, to help cool the surging demand that is contributing to the problem.
U.S. stock and bond markets face a shortened week and will be closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 index
rose 1.1% to 4,446.59, breaking a 3-day losing streak brought on by persistent worries about inflation and the tough medicine the Federal Reserve is planning to use against it.
Bond yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.68% early Thursday from 2.72% late Tuesday.
Inflation may be peaking but will likely stick around for awhile as cost pressures filter their way through the markets.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised volatility for energy prices since oil supplies already were tight as demand rises with the waning of the pandemic. U.S. crude oil prices are up roughly 40% for the year, driving up gasoline prices and giving inflation’s a bigger hit on people’s wallets.
In energy trading U.S. benchmark crude oil
slipped 35 cents to $103.89 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $3.65 to $104.25 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude
the standard for international pricing of oil, lost 28 cents to $108.50 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar
slipped to 125.22 Japanese yen from 125.63 yen.
Read More: Asian markets track Wall Street higher as oil prices retreat