Thu, Nov 08, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Asian markets muted after Obama win

NOT UNEXPECTED:Investors have factored in an Obama victory and are hopeful that his re-election would ensure a continuity of US monetary policy, analysts said

AFP, HONG KONG and LONDON

The US dollar slipped in Asian trade yesterday, while equity markets were muted after US President Barack Obama won a second term in a closely fought US presidential election.

The US currency fell against the euro and yen in afternoon trade, as dealers bet that under Obama, the US Federal Reserve would continue the loose monetary policy that has seen it flood markets with billions of US dollars.

The euro bought US$1.2860 in Tokyo, well up from US$1.2788 earlier yesterday and US$1.2814 in New York late on Tuesday. The greenback was at ¥80.20, compared with ¥80.34 in New York.

The euro bought ¥103.13, from ¥102.96 in New York.

The greenback was also broadly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies: It fell to US$1.0466 from US$1.0432 against the Australian dollar, dropped to 1,084.60 South Korean won from 1,091.20 won, and slid to S$1.2209 from S$1.2240 against the Singaporean dollar.

Gold prices rose thanks to the weaker US dollar, rising to US$1,722.40 by 8:35am GMT, from US$1,679.75 late on Monday.

A clear victory had been the overriding hope, allowing the government to work to avert the “fiscal cliff,” which will dominate discussions in the US Congress between now and Christmas.

If Congress fails to agree how to cut spending over the medium term, there will be automatic deep spending cuts that could tip the US back into recession, in a major blow for the slowing global economy.

On equity markets, Sydney gained 0.71 percent, or 31.7 points, to end at 4,516.5. Tokyo was flat, nudging down 2.26 points to 8,972.89, while Seoul closed up 0.49 percent, or 9.38 points, at 1,937.55.

Hong Kong shares ended up 0.71 percent, or 155.42 points, at 22,099.85; Shanghai was flat, edging down 0.27 points to 2,105.73.

“Investors have been factoring in his win and adjusting their positions likewise,” said Kengo Suzuki, forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

“The issue now is the uncertainty surrounding the US fiscal cliff, and how a divided Congress will deal with the issue,” he added.

SHK Financial strategist Daniel So told Dow Jones Newswires: “An Obama victory ensures the continuity of US monetary policy, which is likely to be kept loose.”

He added that a Romney win would likely have seen him “launch policies to incentivize fund flow back to the US, so in terms of liquidity inflow, an Obama win also favors the Asian markets.”

European stock markets were up early yesterday, as traders reacted to Obama’s convincing re-election and looked ahead to a key Greek vote on austerity.

In early deals, London’s FTSE 100 index of top companies edged up 0.1 percent to 5,889.98 points, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 added 0.43 percent to 7,409.61 points and in Paris the CAC 40 rose 0.62 percent to 3,500.18.

However, regional traders were still concerned about Europe’s debt woes after data on Tuesday showed a bigger-than-expected slump in factory orders in Germany, the eurozone’s biggest economy.

Berlin said industrial orders declined 3.3 percent in September from August after falling 0.8 percent the previous month.

That is much steeper than expected. Analysts polled by Dow Jones had been expecting a fall of 0.5 percent.

Greek lawmakers are due to vote later in the day on a new set of austerity measures — including tax hikes and pension cuts — that are needed to unlock the latest batch of international aid and stave off bankruptcy.

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