Aug 09, 2019: Asian markets largely rallied Friday, tracking a rebound on Wall Street, as investors attempted to shrug off lingering US-China trade war fears.
Positive data out of Japan helped drive the Nikkei index up by 0.7 percent, after figures showed the world's third-biggest economy was growing faster than analysts had predicted.
The stronger-than-expected data showed Japan's gross domestic product grew 0.4 percent from the previous quarter on robust consumer demand, beating analysts' median forecast of 0.1 percent.
“The reading of the data itself was not a huge buying peg… but nonetheless it confirmed personal spending could pick up,” said Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.
The Japanese data came a day after China released figures showing that its exports beat expectations to rise in July, boosting equities in the region.
Hong Kong edged up 0.2 percent Friday, while Shanghai inched up 0.1 percent. Seoul jumped 1.3 percent and Sydney rose 0.3 percent. Singapore lost 0.5 percent.
Even as equities largely advanced on bargain-hunting by investors after several days of losses, safe haven assets such as bonds, gold and the yen remained in demand, signalling that trade war fears would continue to weigh on markets.
Interest rate cuts by central banks in India, Thailand and New Zealand this week underscored investor anxiety with analysts saying that markets believe further cuts were in the offing.
“The current market dynamics are such that the stabilisation of risk assets will remain a function of improvement on the trade front or the Fed turning increasingly more dovish,” said Stephen Innes at VM Markets.
“With a near term trade agreement little more (than) wishful thinking at this stage the markets will lean on the dovish Fed narrative again as a critical circuit breaker to diffuse the markets stress overload from escalating trade and currency war tensions,” he added.