HONG KONG, Dec 5 (AFP): Stocks rose on Monday as traders welcomed more easing of strict Covid containment measures in China that have hammered the world's number-two economy.
The moves helped offset a forecast-busting US jobs report that dented hopes that the Federal Reserve will take a softer approach to hiking interest rates in its battle against inflation.
Investor sentiment has picked up considerably in recent weeks on indications the US central bank will slow down its monetary tightening as price rises appear to be slowing and the economy weakens.
That has come as Chinese leaders take a more pragmatic approach to fighting Covid after recent protests across the country that also called for more political freedoms.
The harsh zero-Covid strategy-which saw major cities including Beijing and Shanghai face lockdowns for months-has been blamed for a sharp slowdown in economic growth this year and sent shudders through markets.
The move to reopening helped fuel "market optimism about the tailwinds of a likely acceleration in growth in 2023 for China-sensitive assets", said SPI Asset Management's Stephen Innes.
"Although there have been several local changes to Covid policies, China has yet to shift away from the zero-Covid policy officially. Instead, they are trying to balance the expected reopening surge in Omicron cases against minimising economic and social costs."
The brighter outlook lifted Asian markets with Hong Kong leading the way, jumping more than four percent while Shanghai put on more than one percent.