Coronavirus News Asia

Investor sentiment upbeat ahead of oil meet


(ATF) – Investor sentiment was broadly upbeat across Asia ahead of the meeting of major oil-producing countries, following positive takeaways from the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes published overnight.

Still, the spread of the coronavirus hangs heavy over investor minds with the infection count of the global pandemic crossing the 1.5 million mark.

Korea’s Kospi benchmark is 0.9% higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.88%, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 leapt 2.05% but Japan’s Nikkei 225 is down 0.47%, following the outperformance on Wednesday. Regionally, MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan benchmark is 0.52% higher.

Federal Reserve’s minutes from two emergency meetings in March which showed the central bank was “prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum-employment and price-stability goals.”

“We expect the FOMC will do what is necessary to maintain accommodative financial conditions for the balance of this year. This includes the purchase of US Treasuries in the amounts needed to prevent any meaningful backup in yields from the coming Treasury issuance,” Bob Miller, BlackRock’s head of Americas’ Fundamental Fixed Income, said.

HK relief measures

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced on Thursday a plan to suitably reduce the issuance size of Exchange Fund Bills in order to increase the overall Hong Kong dollar liquidity in the interbank market. This follows the overnight HK$137.5 billion package of relief measures announced by the Hong Kong government.

The Bank of Korea left its main policy rate unchanged at 0.75% on Thursday as expected. But in a post-decision statement it said it would conduct monetary policy in an accommodative manner in order to mitigate downside risks to the economy and ease volatility in financial markets”.

The support from central banks to ensure availability of cash to businesses and households is reflected in credit markets outperformance with more investment grade issuance likely to emerge in coming days. 



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