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Hong Kong — Asian shares swung into positive territory in afternoon trade on Tuesday, propelled by China’s decision to ease some quarantine requirements for international arrivals, with Hong Kong stocks particularly supported.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5%, having spent most of the day in the red. The index has fallen 3.8% so far this month.
Health authorities said on Tuesday that China will halve to seven days its Covid-19 quarantine period for visitors from overseas, with a further three days spent at home.
After the news, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index reversed its losses and jumped 0.85% in afternoon trade.
In China, the blue-chip CSI300 index was 1% higher, also having clawed back earlier losses.
The sharp change in mood looked set to last into the global day with the pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures up 0.31%, German DAX futures 0.2% higher and FTSE futures climbing 0.47%. US stock futures rose 0.46%.
“With local new infections dropping further in June, and Covid curbs to ease more, we expect the Chinese economy to continue to recover,” Bank of America said in its note. “That said, given soft domestic demand and lingering Covid uncertainties, the mending path is likely to be bumpy in the coming months.”
Market sentiment was also boosted by an official’s remarks that Beijing would roll out tools to cope with economic challenges as Covid-19 outbreaks and risks from the Ukraine war pose a threat to employment and price stability.
Australian shares were up 0.86%, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index rose 0.66%.
US stocks ended a volatile trading session slightly lower on Monday with few catalysts to sway investor sentiment as they approach the halfway point of a year in which equity markets have been slammed by heightened inflation worries and tightening Fed policy.
Interest rate sensitive megacaps such as Amazon.com, Microsoft and Alphabet were the heaviest drags on the US main indices.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2%, the S&P 500 lost 0.30% and the Nasdaq composite dropped 0.72%.
Oil continued to rise with investors still weighing worries about an economic slowdown against concerns over lost Russian supply amid sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine.
US crude ticked up 1.02% to $110.69 a barrel. Brent crude rose to $116.42 a barrel.
“A seam of tight supply news bolstered the oil market,” said analysts at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “Political unrest might curtail supply from a couple of second-tier producers, Ecuador and Libya. And then there’s the G7’s proposed price cap on Russian oil.”
In bond markets, treasury yields climbed on Monday following capital and durable goods orders data and as pending home sales surprised to the upside from the previous month.
The yield on benchmark 10-year treasury notes last reached 3.1828% on Tuesday, compared with its US close of 3.194% on Monday. The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 3.0934%.
Also, the dollar edged lower versus major rivals as investors weighed expectations on inflation and interest rate hikes. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies of other major trading partners, was down at 103.96.
Gold was slightly higher with the spot price trading at $1,825.79 an ounce.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.