News Headline Summary

ASIA-PACIFIC MID-SESSION UPDATE - 04/02/13

Asian equity markets are in an upbeat tone following Friday’s strong US close where the previous Non-Farm Payrolls were revised to a much higher number. Most major Asian indices are in the green with the Shanghai Comp. putting in a good performance, supported by the financials sector after reports that China is to relax restrictions on brokers' expansion to encourage companies to compete and diversify. The Nikkei 225 is also trading with gains helped by the weakness in JPY which has pushed USD/JPY above the 92.50 level. Panasonic has been one of the leaders supporting the index after the release of Q3 profits last week, with Co. shares finishing today’s morning trade with gains of 16.89%. The ASX 200 opened strongly to hit a 21-month high, but turned tail to trade with losses, weighed in particular by the financials sector. These moves come ahead of tomorrow’s RBA rate decision.

In the FX markets, there is slight JPY strength, though USD/JPY is still trading above the 92.50 level. AUD/USD briefly fell due to a worse than expected Australian Business Approvals, but the losses were pared soon after. The big mover today has been the KRW, which strengthened causing USD/KRW to fall to 1,087.57 after the BOK’s Moon said it’s too early for the BOK to act on JPY's fall and that he sees no immediate need for an interest rate move.

Looking forward, there are no more economic releases scheduled for today’s Asian session, so focus shifts to tomorrow’s RBA official cash rate decision where the expectation is for the rate to be held at a historic low of 3%, due to a solid start to the year by major economies and improving global sentiment.

As of 0250GMT:

ASX200 (-0.13%), Nikkei 225 (+0.48%), Shanghai Comp. (+0.09%), Hang Seng (+0.56%), KOSPI (+0.07%)

Print 02:53, 04 Feb 2013 - Asian News - Source: RANsquawk