September 23, 2021: Asian shares moved higher on Thursday, supported by some positive news from struggling developer China Evergrande Group, while the dollar held near a one-month top after the U.S. Federal Reserve took a hawkish tilt overnight.
However, investors remained on edge about Evergrande's future, with a major test to come later on Thursday when $83.5 million in dollar-bond interest payments are due.
“It's a long way to go yet in terms of this being resolved,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management. “You'll see some of the immediate fears of a huge collapse and contagion start to recede, but it will still be an issue that pops up because the property market and construction is such a massive part of the Chinese economy.”
Evergrande's shares surged 23% on Thursday after a unit said on Wednesday, when the Hong Kong market was closed for a holiday, that it had “resolved” a coupon payment on an onshore bond.
The Hong Kong benchmark rose 1.6%, boosting MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, which gained 0.64%
Elsewhere, Chinese blue chips gained 0.74%, Australia's benchmark rose 1.04%, and Korea's Kospi fell 0.6% after returning from a three-day break to catch up with global falls earlier in the week.
U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, were up 0.31%.
Fears that Evergrande could fail to meet its obligations jolted global markets early this week as traders worried the giant developer's issues could spill over to other property firms and banks. Concerns eased somewhat on Wednesday when the People's Bank of China injected 90 billion yuan ($13.9 billion) into the banking system.
Investors were also focused on the U.S. Federal Reserve, which said overnight it will likely begin reducing its monthly bond purchases as soon as November and signalled interest rate increases may follow more quickly than expected.
“The most striking part of what we learnt from the Fed was that market was very accepting of it,” Craig said.
The three major U.S. stock indexes closed up 1%, not far off where they were before the Fed announcement, and U.S. Treasury yields see-sawed, before largely taking the change in their stride.
The dollar rose after the Fed Chair's remarks hitting a month-high of 93.526 against a basket of currencies particularly gaining against the euro and yen, but paused for breath in Asian hours
U.S. crude dipped 0.11% to $72.15 a barrel. Brent crude fell 0.35% $76.13 per barrel.
Spot gold lost 0.24% to trade at $1763.43 per ounce.