Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index capping the biggest weekly gain in seven months as the yen traded near ￥100 per US dollar and slower-than-estimated inflation in China eased concern about monetary policy tightening.
BHP Billiton Ltd, a mining company that gets 30 percent of its revenue in China, advanced 3.4 percent in Sydney. Toyota Motor Corp jumped 11 percent even after defective airbag inflators led Japan’s three biggest carmakers, including Toyota, to recall more than 3 million vehicles. China Southern Airlines Co (中國南方航空) rose 3.6 percent in Hong Kong after a slump last week on concern an outbreak of bird flu in China would hurt travel demand.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 3.5 percent to 138.17 this week, the biggest weekly gain since the period ended on Sept. 14 last year. The measure on Thursday closed at its highest level since August 2011.
Japan’s TOPIX rallied 7.7 percent in its best week since December 2009, with the Bank of Japan reiterating a pledge to continue stimulus.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rallied 6.8 percent this year amid optimism Japan will deploy more stimulus and that policymakers in the US and China remain on standby to support growth. Asia’s benchmark trades at 14 times average estimated earnings, compared with 14.4 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.6 for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The TAIEX slid 1.5 percent this week after capping the biggest drop in 10 months on Monday.
On Friday, the index fell 0.46 percent, or 36.35 points, to 7,821.63, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (鴻海精密) dropping 2.36 percent to NT$78.60, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was down 0.99 percent at NT$100.50.
In other markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.7 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.8 percent as data on Wednesday showed that China’s consumer price index rose 2.1 percent last month from a year earlier.
South Korea’s KOSPI dipped 0.2 percent as foreigners sold shares amid concerns that North Korea would conduct a missile test. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 2.5 percent, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.2 percent.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) has signaled that his government will take steps this year to loosen state control over interest rates as part of efforts to sustain economic growth.
China’s imports rose by a better-than-forecast 14.1 percent last month, while export growth slowed to 10 percent from a year earlier, the Chinese General Administration of Customs said on Wednesday.
Separately, new local currency loans last month were 1.06 trillion yuan (US$171 billion), the People’s Bank of China said on Thursday, beating a 900 billion yuan median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Companies that do business in China and are sensitive to growth rose. BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest miner, gained 3.4 percent to A$33.35, the first weekly advance since the period ended on Feb. 15. Rio Tinto Group, Australia’s second-largest miner by market value, added 2.3 percent to A$56.90.
Japanese stocks rallied as the yen dropped and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Wednesday reiterated a pledge to achieve a 2 percent inflation target within two years.
Toyota Motor, the world’s biggest carmaker, soared 11 percent to ￥5,660, as video game console maker Nintendo Co jumped 10 percent to ￥11,400. Komatsu Ltd, a construction machinery maker that gets 80 percent of its revenue outside Japan, surged 14 percent to ￥2,505.
Hong Kong-listed airlines rebounded this week as concerns over an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu in China eased. A four-year-old boy in Shanghai was discharged from a local hospital on April 10 after recovering from the H7N9 avian influenza, the first patient declared cured.
China Southern Airlines rose 3.6 percent to HK$4.01 after falling 13 percent last week. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空), Hong Kong’s largest international carrier, climbed 3.3 percent to HK$12.68 after hitting a seven-month low last week.
In other markets on Friday:
Manila closed 0.87 percent higher than on Thursday, adding 59.69 points to reach 6,891.43.
Wellington closed 0.59 percent, or 26.23 points, higher at 4,435.77.
Mumbai fell 1.62 percent, or 299.64 points, to 18,242.56.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and