Asia Shares Take Heart from Oil Bounce, Dollar Capped

Asian equities rose on Tuesday, with a rebound in crude oil and other commodity prices favoring the stock markets of resource-exporting countries.

Crude oil held on to its gains after rebounding sharply overnight from five-year lows. The bounce in commodities including iron ore, copper and gold was also good for commodity currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars.

“Yesterday much of the move higher right across the entire commodity complex… suggests that there was a strong element of people increasing their allocation to commodities, taking advantage of these low prices,” said Mark Keenan, head of commodities research Asia at Societe Generale.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS climbed 0.6 percent.

Buoyed by a relief rally in resource firms, Australian shares .AXJO rose 1.4 percent.

Chinese shares also posted solid gains after Monday’s soft manufacturing data added to speculation that China may implement further stimulus measures. The Shanghai composite index .SSEC climbed 1.3 percent.

Europe was seen catching some of the updraft from Asia, with spreadbetters expecting Britain’s FTSE .FTSE and France’s CAX .FCHI to open 0.1 percent higher, while Germany’s DAX .GDAXI was seen opening flat.

Japanese government bonds (JGBs) and equities mostly shrugged off a downgrade of Japan’s sovereign debt rating by Moody’s on Monday.

The five-year JGB yield in fact touched a record low of 0.090 percent JP5YTN=JBTC on Tuesday, while Tokyo’s Nikkei average .N225 pared earlier losses and rose 0.5 percent.

The rating agency downgraded Japan by one notch to A1 from Aa3, after Japan opted to postpone an increase in sales tax intended to tackle its debt burden.

“It can be said that the sales tax delay had gained the support of the international community as it was meant to help the economy amid a slowdown, and the downgrade is unlikely to change such views,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, a market strategist at Praevidentia Strategy in Tokyo.

“As for JGBs, which are more directly impacted by downgrades, any effect is likely to be temporary thanks to the Bank of Japan’s quantitative easing. Past downgrades have also had little impact on JGBs,” he said.

The dollar was steady at 118.480 yen JPY=. In turbulent trade immediately after Moody’s downgrade of Japan the greenback jumped to a seven-year high of 119.15 but its gains were pared as the rebound in oil prices lifted commodity currencies against the greenback.

The Canadian dollar rose to C$1.1327 per USD CAD=D4 from a one-month low of C$1.1459 and the Aussie AUD=D4 fetched $0.8512, pulling away from a 4-1/2 year low of $0.8417.

U.S. crude oil was down 0.6 percent at $68.61 a barrel, after posting a 4 percent rise overnight from a five-year low of $63.72 as bearish positions were squeezed.

Gold, beaten down after Switzerland on Sunday voted against a proposal to boost gold reserves, also held on to the bulk of its gains after rebounding sharply on spillover support from the bounce in oil.

Spot gold XAU= was down 0.4 percent at $1,205.33 an ounce after gaining 3.7 percent the previous day.

Source: Reuters