Asian markets advance ahead of US report

Asian stocks in Friday’s markets rose ahead of an update on the U.S. jobs market, as the U.S. Federal Reserve ponders whether further rate hikes are needed to calm soaring inflation.

Taipei, Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced as US futures and oil prices edged higher.

Investors were eagerly awaiting the monthly U.S. jobs numbers for possible signs of weakness that could prompt the Fed to decide it needs to ease rate hikes to calm inflation. Other data suggests the economy is slowing, which should reduce upward pressure on prices.

Photo: AP

“It is likely that particular attention will be paid to the resilience of job growth” after an uptick in jobless claims, ActivTrades trader Anderson Alves said in a statement.

In Taipei, the TAIEX closed up 333.84 points, or 2.27%, at 15,036.04, after moving between 14,802.34 and 15,041.41, while posting a weekly gain of 0, 24%. Revenue totaled NT$202.78 billion (US$6.77 billion).

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.19% to 3,227.03, losing 0.81% on week, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.14% to 20,192.36, gaining 0.23% from the previous week.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.87% to 28,175.87 after labor income in June rose 2.2% from a year earlier, although forecasters warned the strength would not last probably not. Half-yearly bonuses are paid in June. The index rose 1.35% per week. The broader TOPIX rose 0.85% to 1,947.17, advancing 0.35% on a weekly basis.

In Seoul, the KOSPI gained 0.72% to 2,490.80, up 1.60% on week, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.58% to 7,015.60, up of 1.01% compared to the previous week.

The Indian SENSEX rose 0.15% to 58,387.93, posting a weekly gain of 1.42%. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 5.4% on Friday.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said inflation would hit 6.7% in the fiscal year ending March next year and the economy would grow at an annual rate of 7.2% .

New Zealand fell, while Southeast Asian markets rose.

Jakarta’s JSX Composite Index rose 0.39% to 7,084.66 after Indonesia’s economy grew by a stronger than expected 5.4% year-on-year in the latest quarter.

Investors fear that rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia to rein in inflation that is at multi-decade highs could derail economic growth.

The Fed has raised its benchmark rate twice by 0.75 percentage points this year, three times its usual margin and the biggest increases since the early 1990s.

Fed officials have tried to calm fears that the United States could tip into a recession by citing a strong labor market as evidence that the economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week rose by a modest 6,000 from the previous week to 260,000, the US Department of Labor reported Thursday. Early applications typically reflect layoffs, but forecasters still see the job market as one of the strongest sectors in the economy.

Data earlier this week indicated that the number of new U.S. job openings advertised had slipped, but were still near record highs.

Additional reports by staff writer, with CNA

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