Markets Rise, Yen Strengthens

Markets in the Asia-Pacific traded higher, carrying on the optimism behind Wall Street’s rally as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed smaller rate hikes could start in December.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 vaulted 257.09 points, or 0.9%, to 28,226.08.

The Japanese yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar, following Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments signaling smaller interest rate hikes could come as soon as the next meeting in December.

The USD/JPY fell 1.2% in Asia’s trading hours and last stood at 136.33 – hovering around the strongest levels for the Japanese currency in over three months.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng jumped another 139.21 points, or 0.8%, to 18,376.44, powered largely by tech stocks.

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said the state sovereign wealth fund’s investment loss of $275 million in collapsed crypto exchange FTX is “disappointing and has caused reputational damage” to the city-state.

But the investment loss does not mean the governance system is not working, Wong said, adding that an internal review is being conducted.

South Korea’s revised gross domestic product for the third quarter confirmed growth of 3.1% compared to the same period a year ago – higher than a 2.9% expansion seen in the second quarter.

The economy saw slower quarterly growth of 0.3% in the third quarter, following a growth of 0.7% in the previous period.

Separately, South Korea reported a trade deficit of $7.01 billion for November, exceeding expectations of $4.42 billion — marking the third consecutive month of rising trade deficit driven by sluggish exports.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 added 41.73 points, or 1.1%, to 3,894.77.

The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for China came in at 49.4, higher than expectations while marking a fourth consecutive month of contraction.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex picked up 169.91 points, or 1.2%, to 14,879.53

In Korea, the Kospi index moved forward 7.31 points, or 0.3%, to 2,479.84.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index edged up 2.24 points, or 0.1%, to 3,292.73.

In Australia, the ASX 200 picked up 70.25 points, or 1%, to 7,354.12.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 climbed 102.52 points, or 0.9%, to 11,654.56.