Asian markets quiet in holiday-thinned trade; US inflation eyed

3 months ago

Markets were shut in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States.

Reuters

March 29, 2024 / 11:09 AM IST

Asian markets quiet in holiday-thinned trade; US inflation eyed

Asian markets quiet in holiday-thinned trade; US inflation eyed

Stocks and currencies were muted in Asia on the Good Friday holiday, while investors kept to the sidelines ahead of key U.S. inflation data.

Markets were shut in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States.

The focus has turned to the U.S. Federal Reserve's preferred inflation indicator, the core personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE) and comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell due on Friday.

The core index was seen rising 0.3% last month, which would keep the annual pace at 2.8%. FEDWATCH

In Thailand, the baht THB=TH currency was on course for its third consecutive drop, standing down 0.1%, although it pared back some earlier session losses.

Market players bet the Thai central bank would start cutting high interest rates at its next policy meeting on April 10, said Poon Panichpibool, a markets strategist at Krung Thai Bank.

The bank's chief has said it will ensure the policy rate is appropriate to support "long-term sustainable growth" amid concerns about tepid growth and contracting industrial output.

The South Korean won dipped 0.2%, leading the laggards among other currencies. The Taiwanese dollar TWD=TP was flat, while the Malaysian ringgit MYR= edged up 0.1%.

In the equity markets, benchmark indexes in Taiwan .TWII, Thailand .SETI and Malaysia .KLSE rose between 0.4% and 0.6%. Chinese stocks .SSEC also rose 0.6%.

Oil prices stayed elevated this week, which analysts fear could slow disinflation in Asia and become a sore point for central banks.

Crude oil prices have averaged $85.4​ a ​barrel this month, up from $77.7​ a barrel at the end of 2023, spurred by the OPEC+ decision to extend production cuts. O/R

"While commodity prices have been a source of headaches for central banks, the bar for additional hikes is high and we think these latest moves likely mean Asian policy makers will not rush to ease," Barclays analysts said in a client note.

The Philippines, South Korea and Thailand are set to announce inflation data next week, which could decide the stances of their central banks.

Market focus will also be on the Reserve Bank of India's policy decision and China's PMI data.

HIGHLIGHTS:
** Thailand plans to sell up to $9.5 bln of govt bonds in April-June

** Tokyo inflation slowdown, output slide cloud BOJ's rate hike outlook

** No interference in Indonesian elections, lawyers for Prabowo tell court

Discover the latest business news, Sensex, and Nifty updates. Obtain Personal Finance insights, tax queries, and expert opinions on Moneycontrol or download the Moneycontrol App to stay updated!

Read Entire Article