Asia markets Sept. 12: ECB, US-China tariffs, currencies

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Stocks in Asia were set to open higher on Thursday amid positive developments on the U.S.-China trade front. Markets also expect further easing measures by the European Central Bank when it announces its decision on interest rates later today.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese shares, with the Nikkei futures in Chicago at 21,780 and its counterpart in Osaka at 21,660. The Nikkei 225 last closed at 21,597.76.

Shares in Australia were also set to trade higher, with the SPI futures contract at 6,663.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,638.00.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that increased tariffs on 250 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods that were set to kick in on October 1 have now been delayed to October 15 “as a gesture of good will.”

Trump said the decision was made at the request of Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and in consideration of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the People’s Republic of China.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: “At the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st, we have agreed, as a gesture of good will, to move the increased Tariffs on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods (25% to 30%), from October 1st to October 15th.”

Investors also await the ECB’s decision on interest rates, set to be announced at 7:45 p.m. HK/SIN.

“Markets are shifting their attention to the ECB meeting tonight where there is a unanimous consensus for easing measures to be announced, but a great deal of uncertainty on what exactly these measures might entail,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note.

Meanwhile, market reaction to a bid by the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) for the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) will be watched. The HKEX said Wednesday a proposal to the board of LSE had been made to “combine the two companies.”

Markets in South Korea are closed on Thursday for a holiday.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 227.61 points to close at 27,137.04 — its first six-day winning streak since June. The S&P 500 ended its trading day 0.7% higher at 3,000.93 while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1% to 8,169.68, its best close since July 31.

Following Wednesday’s session on Wall Street, the Dow is now less than 1% from its all-time high reached July 16 and the S&P 500 less than 1% from a record high set on July 26.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.645 after rising to highs around the 98.7 handle yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.81 against the dollar after weakening from levels around 106.8 earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6865 after trading between $0.684 and $0.688 for much of this week.

What’s on tap:

  • Europe: European Central Bank meeting and news conference at 7:45 p.m. HK/SIN
  • India: Industrial production data and Consumer Price Index at 8:00 p.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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