Tokyo rallies on weak yen but most Asia markets struggle

Tokyo rallies on weak yen but most Asia markets struggle

20 June, 13:41 668

AFP: Tokyo's Nikkei rallied Tuesday as the dollar extended gains against the yen on fresh indications the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates again this year, while technology firms tracked a sector rebound on Wall Street.

However, most other regional markets struggled after Monday's healthy gains, despite being given a positive lead from Wall Street where the Dow and S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs.

One of the key drivers of Monday's US rally were comments from influential New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley, who reaffirmed the bank's plan to press on with its rate hikes and forecast of higher inflation.

He said that despite tepid price rises, he was confident that "if the labor market continues to tighten, wages will gradually pick up".

"Hitting the right chords and sounding dismissive about the recent slowdown in inflation, an unrepentantly hawkish Dudley provided the USD bulls with enough fodder," Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA, said in a note.

The remarks came after Fed boss Janet Yellen set out a more hawkish tone than usual, while the central bank set out plans to wind down its asset holdings to suck cash out of the financial system.

The greenback jumped in US trade and kicked on in Asia, heading towards 112 yen for the first time since the end of May.

Tokyo stocks ended the morning session 1.1 percent higher, with exporters key winners thanks to the weaker yen, while tech firms bounced after two weeks of sharp losses.

Other major markets struggled. Hong Kong was slightly lower, Sydney fell 0.4 percent and Seoul gave up 0.1 percent. Singapore shed 0.2 percent.

Shanghai also slipped 0.2 percent as investors await a decision by MSCI on whether to include it in its list of benchmark indexes.

The bourse has been denied for the previous three years over concerns about certain restrictions, despite Beijing providing greater access to its domestic, renminbi-based capital markets.

MSCI said China still maintains problematic restrictions including a 20 percent monthly repatriation limit, which it called "a significant hurdle for investors," and too many restrictions on new financial product offerings.

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