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Asian markets celebrate New Year

Asian markets celebrate New Year

By Vincent-Frédéric Mivelaz

Asian shares roared, after the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced on Friday plans to cut its reserve requirement ratio by 1%, with a reduction of 50 basis point on 15 and 25 January respectively, the first decrease since October 2018. The move will support smaller businesses by freeing liquidity (800 billion yuan or $116 billion) that banks should allocate into loans. Investors are monitoring whether the PBoC will take one step further by easing its policy rate, unchanged since October 2015. The impact of the reserve loosening will take up to three quarters to impact the real economy. Accordingly, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose by +2.44% while Chinese blue-chip index CSI 300 closed +0.61% and South Korean Kospi index gained +1.34%. European shares are lagging, with the Euro Stoxx 50 -0.26% followed by US futures in slight negative territory.

Elsewhere, US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dovish tone last Friday, followed by a strong American jobs report, plus resumption of US-China trade talks gave investors a boost. Risk appetite is growing, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 2.83% on Friday, its best session rise since mid-2016. EUR/USD is currently given at 1.1445, approaching 1.1460 short-term.

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