Asian shares pressured by growth worries despite stimulus, focus on U.S. jobs

(Reuters) – Asian shares paused on Friday, pressured by falls overnight in global shares as sentiment remained cautious despite new stimulus steps taken by three major central banks, with focus now pinned to the U.S. jobs data due later in the day.

A man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo June 29, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao/Files

The U.S. jobs report will offer clues about the extent of damage the euro zone’s debt crisis is inflicting on the U.S. economy and whether the Federal Reserve will also ease policy.

Some cautioned that Thursday’s firm private U.S. employment data could dampen such hopes.

Monetary easing on Thursday by the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and the People’s Bank of China underscored global concern at a deteriorating world economy.

European shares slipped from two-month highs to end lower on Thursday, weighed by comments from ECB President Mario Draghi about the weak economic outlook and a lack of any indication that the ECB might hand out more easy money.

The euro, after slumping on the ECB rate cut, stood at $1.2392 on Friday, barely above its lowest since June 1 of $1.23638 hit the day before.

The euro hovered near its record lows against the Australian dollar of A$1.2015 and against the New Zealand dollar of NZ$1.5366 marked after the ECB rate decision.

“We expect to see fresh 2012 lows in the EUR/USD as the fundamental outlook for the region turns increasingly bleak,” said David Song, currency analyst at DailyFX.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was nearly flat early on Friday, and Japan’s Nikkei average opened down 0.3 percent.

“I expect the Nikkei to fall a bit as it comes under pressure from selling in U.S. and European markets, with most players waiting for the jobs data,” said Toshiyuki Kanayama, a market analyst at Monex Securities.

Chinese shares could be capped despite Beijing’s surprise move on Thursday, coming just four weeks after a previous rate cut and ahead of economic data next week including the second-quarter gross domestic product, feeding fears the reports could paint a darker-than-expected growth picture in the world’s second-biggest economy.

“Similar to the last rate cut on 8 June, we believe the impact on China’s equity market will be limited and short-lived. Chinese stock market still looks for a significant liquidity injection before it can experience a sensible rebound,” said Li-Gang Liu, chief China economist at ANZ Bank in Hong Kong.

Beijing cut the benchmark one-year lending rate by 31 basis points to 6 percent and the one-year deposit rate by 25 basis points to 3 percent.

It also lowered the floor for lending rates to 70 percent of benchmark rates from 80 percent previously which analysts said was aimed at stimulating borrowing by creating a more competitive landscape.

The BoE announced on Thursday it would buy 50 billion pounds of assets with newly created money.

The ECB cut its main refinancing rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 0.75 percent and also reduced its deposit rate, a floor for the money market, to zero from 0.25 percent.

But it refrained from taking more dramatic steps such as resuming purchases of troubled euro zone government bonds or flooding banks with fresh liquidity.

With investors less than convinced the latest central bank moves will drive down borrowing costs of highly indebted countries, Madrid was forced to pay the highest rates in over seven months to borrow 10-year funds at an auction on Thursday.

The sale, which nevertheless drew solid demand, was the first test of investor sentiment since European leaders agreed last week to allow the bloc’s bailout funds to buy bonds in the secondary markets and directly recapitalise ailing banks.

(curtsey : reuter)

Rupesh Yatesh Dalal
Head Research Department

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