Asia Stocks Shake Off Bank Woes; 20-Year JGB Drops: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Asian equities climbed Wednesday as investors wagered that the worst of the global fallout from the American banking sector has passed.

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Financials were among the sectors leading the advances in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Australian shares showed small gains while South Korea’s Kospi jumped almost 2%. The rebound follows declines across the region on Tuesday that pushed a gauge of Asian shares to the lowest since November.

US stocks rallied into the close, helping set the tone for a shift in sentiment Wednesday. The gains in Chinese markets also came as the central bank added more liquidity than expected while holding a key lending rate unchanged.

A gauge of dollar strength rose slightly after four-straight days of declines.

The two-year Treasury yield nudged about four basis points higher following a 27 basis point recovery in the rate on Tuesday. It still remains well below levels of mid last week after its biggest three-day slump in decades.

Bond yields climbed in Australia and New Zealand. Japan’s 10-year yield rose while the 20-year rate surged 12.5 basis points after the central bank lowered purchases.

Swaps pricing is back to positioning for the Federal Reserve to lift rates by a quarter percentage point next week after the odds of an increase had slipped to nearly 50-50 on Monday. The closely-watched core consumer price index increased 0.5% in February, slightly ahead of the median estimate of 0.4% and enough to keep pressure on policy makers to hike rates.

“Our view is inflation has peaked and the Fed will do one more rate hike of 25 basis points and that’s it,” Mark Matthews, Asia research head at Bank Julius Baer & Co., said on Bloomberg TV.

He said the regulatory backstop following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank was very important but wouldn’t necessarily end such incidents. “The ripple-through effect of the era of ultra-low interest rates and then Covid is still very much with us,” he said.

Remarks from ratings companies on the financial sector underscored that sentiment is likely to remain fragile after the biggest American bank failures since the financial crisis.

Moody’s Investors Service cut its outlook on the sector on the heels of the trio of banking collapses over the past few days. First Republic Bank triggered a volatility halt after S&P Global Ratings placed the company on watch negative.

“Policymakers may still feel forced to press pause on rates, despite evidence the hot inflation is still a risk, unwilling to be blamed for making a bad situation worse,” said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown. “While smaller banks remain under pressure, there are concerns that bigger banks could become more risk averse in lending, which could dip the economy into a sharper downturn.”

Elsewhere in markets, oil rose from its lowest close in three months as traders took stock of the outlook for demand.

Gold held a drop that took some of the shine off a three-day surge of more than 5%.

Key events this week:

  • China retail sales, industrial production, surveyed jobless rate, Wednesday

  • Eurozone industrial production, Wednesday

  • US business inventories, retail sales, PPI, empire manufacturing, Wednesday

  • Eurozone rate decision, Thursday

  • US housing starts, initial jobless claims, Thursday

  • Janet Yellen appears before the Senate Finance Committee, Thursday

  • US University of Michigan consumer sentiment, industrial production, Conference Board leading index, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures were little changed as of 10:40 a.m. Tokyo time. The S&P 500 rose 1.7% Tuesday

  • Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed. The Nasdaq 100 rose 2.3% Tuesday

  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3%

  • Japan’s Topix rose 0.7%

  • South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.8%

  • The Hang Seng Index rose 2.1%

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed

  • The euro was little changed at $1.0736

  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 134.31 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 6.8814 per dollar

  • The Australian dollar was unchanged at $0.6682

Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin rose 1.4% to $24,978.64

  • Ether rose 0.7% to $1,717.92

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined two basis points to 3.66%

  • Japan’s 10-year yield rose 1.5 basis points to 0.275%

  • Australia’s 10-year yield was little changed at 3.44%

Commodities

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Carly Wanna and Cristin Flanagan.

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