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Asian stocks rise with eyes on China, Fed speech

By AFP - Aug 25,2022 - Last updated at Aug 25,2022

SEOUL — Asian markets rose on Thursday after China unveiled fresh measures to boost its economy, while investors awaited a speech by the Fed chair that may hold clues about future rate hikes.

Central bankers are meeting in Jackson Hole in the US state of Wyoming, and all eyes are on Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell's Friday speech for clues about its plans to tame inflation.

Market sentiment was also boosted by the Chinese government's Wednesday announcement of new policies to help sustain the recovery in the world's second-largest economy.

Asian traders on Thursday followed a positive lead from Wall Street, where the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all closed higher.

Tokyo, Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore were up in afternoon trade. Taipei and Seoul also rose.

Hong Kong stocks surged as trading began in a session delayed because of typhoon weather warnings.

There are concerns that the Fed's fight against soaring inflation could lead to a recession in the United States, which could, in turn, hit a global economy still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A slower global growth environment is not going away anytime soon and now we are clearly seeing broader signs of weakness for the US economy," OANDA's Edward Moya said in a note.

"Powell's fight against inflation might send the US economy into a recession late next year, but for now he needs to stick to the hawkish script and leave all options of tightening on the table."


China stimulus 


Central banks around the world are trying to find a delicate balance between curbing inflation and avoiding recessions.

The challenge has been compounded this year by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has sent energy and food prices skyrocketing.

Traders are also keeping an eye on how China will repair the economic damage from its strict COVID controls, a crisis in its property sector and power shortages caused by a record-breaking heatwave.

Fresh measures to shore up the economy were announced by China's State Council on Wednesday, including steps to encourage lending, consumption and investment, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

They also included support for electricity producers and agriculture, two sectors hit especially hard by the heatwave, though Xinhua's readout of the State Council meeting did not mention the extreme weather.

Crude traded higher on Thursday with concerns building about global supplies after key exporter Saudi Arabia teased the possibility of production cuts and with talks ongoing about the resurrection of the Iran nuclear deal.

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