Asian stocks on the rise amidst US rate cut expectations

Asian stocks saw a modest increase on Tuesday, with the dollar hovering near a five-month low, as cooling U.S. inflation fueled speculation of a Federal Reserve rate cut in early next year.

Publication: 26.12.2023 - 14:16
Asian stocks on the rise amidst US rate cut expectations
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The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose by 0.48%, heading towards a nearly 2% gain this year after a 20% drop in 2022. Japan's Nikkei also saw gains, solidifying its position as the best-performing major Asian stock market with a 27% rise in 2023. Meanwhile, oil prices showed mixed trends, with Brent crude and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude both rising 3% last week due to disruptions in global shipping and trade caused by the Houthi attacks and the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

Market Reactions to US Economic Data

Investors are still processing recent U.S. data indicating a fall in prices for the first time in over three and a half years, signaling the economy's resilience. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index showed a 0.1% decrease last month. Nicholas Chia, Asia macro strategist at Standard Chartered, noted the positive impact of easing the core PCE deflator. The thin liquidity conditions are expected to amplify the 'Santa Claus rally' in equities as the year ends. This period is typically strong for stocks and is often referred to as the "Santa Claus Rally."

Currency Markets and Commodity Trends

In the currency market, the dollar index stood at 101.61, close to its five-month low, potentially ending its two-year winning streak with a 1.8% drop for the year. The yen remained steady against the dollar, with the Bank of Japan (BOJ) hinting at an end to its ultra-easy policy. In the commodities sector, U.S. WTI crude futures rose 0.33% to $73.80 per barrel, while Brent futures were slightly down at $79.33. Spot gold also saw a 0.5% increase to $2,064.02 an ounce. The anticipation of policy changes by the BOJ and the Fed's openness to interest rate cuts in the coming year are shaping the market's trajectory as the year concludes.

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