Japan soars nearly 5% as Asia stocks jump; investors watch central bank developments

Shares in Asia jumped on Tuesday as investors reacted to recent announcements by central banks.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan surged 4.88% to close at 22,582.21 as shares of robot maker Fanuc skyrocketed 6.74% while the Topix index advanced 4.09% to finish its trading day at 1,593.45. Over in South Korea, the Kospi soared 5.28% to close at 2,138.05.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 2.64%, as of its final hour of trading. Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 1.44% to around 2,931.75 while the Shenzhen component added 1.847% to approximately 11,398.97.

Stocks in Australia saw robust gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 3.89% to close at 5,942.30.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 2.83%.

Central bank watch

Investors on Tuesday likely focused on central bank announcements. In the Reserve Bank of Australia’s minutes of its June monetary policy meeting released Tuesday, the central bank’s board “recognised that the substantial, coordinated and unprecedented easing of fiscal and monetary policy in Australia was helping the economy through this difficult period.”

“It was likely that this fiscal and monetary support would be required for some time,” the RBA minutes said.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan on Tuesday stood pat on its main policy tools. In a statement announcing its monetary policy decision, the central bank said “Japan’s economy is likely to remain in a severe situation for the time being due to the impact of COVID-19 at home and abroad, although economic activity is expected to resume gradually.”

“For the time being, the Bank will closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will not hesitate to take additional easing measures if necessary, and also it expects short- and long-term policy interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels,” the BoJ said.

The U.S. Federal Reserve announced Monday more measures to support the market. The Fed said it would buy individual corporate bonds, marking a broader approach to corporate bond buying. Previously indicating it would eventually buy bonds on the primary market, Monday’s announcement by the U.S. central bank marked an expansion of that into the secondary market.

“I think the reality is that the Federal Reserve, learning from the experience of the global financial crisis, is that they can’t wait for things to happen and then act upon it,” Tai Hui, Asia chief market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday. “The preemptive nature of a lot of these measures have been positive.”

South Korean won weakens

The South Korean won weakened against the greenback Tuesday afternoon Singapore time, last trading at 1,211.83 per dollar. The moves came as local news agency Yonhap reported, citing military sources, that North Korea appeared to have blown up the inter-Korean liaison office in the border town of Kaesong.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.529 after touching an earlier low of 96.431.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.38 per dollar after seeing highs around 107.1 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6927 after rising from levels below $0.684 yesterday.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.4% to $39.56 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 0.84% to $36.81 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Back to top