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Asian markets extend gains as optimism slowly returns

September 12, 2019 00:00:00

HONG KONG, Sept 11 (AFP): Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday with a broadly upbeat tone across trading floors ahead of major meetings at the European and US central banks, while there is also a growing sense of optimism over China-US trade talks. News that Donald Trump had fired his fervently hawkish national security adviser also lifted sentiment with analysts saying it could see the White House take a less strident approach and ease geopolitical tensions.

With the global economy stuttering, attention has turned increasingly to central banks as investors look for more stimulus.

On Thursday the European Central Bank holds one of its most anticipated gatherings and hopes are for a series of fresh measures including a possible interest rate cut, fresh bond-buying quantitative easing (QE) or other loosening tools.

That is followed by the Federal Reserve's board meeting next week, where it is tipped to announce another reduction in borrowing costs as the world's top economy-which has so far been the strongest globally-stutters.

"With the expectation of the resumption of quantitative easing by the ECB... and a rate cut by the Federal Reserve next week, the risk environment has solidified and tempted investors out of hiding from the bond markets and back into equities," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Hong Kong led gains by rallying 1.8 per cent as investors made the most of the upbeat mood to pick up cheap stocks after months of sometimes violent protests in the city weighed on the stock market. Property firms were among the biggest gainers.

Tokyo finished one per cent higher, Singapore put on more than one per cent, Seoul rose 0.8 per cent, Sydney gained 0.4 per cent and Taipei added 0.3 per cent, while Manila, Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta also posted gains.

However, Shanghai was fell 0.4 per cent, with little major reaction to news that China had listed 16 US categories of goods it would exempt from tariffs, ahead of planned top-level trade talks next month. Dealers also appeared to brush off Beijing's decision Tuesday to lift limits on foreign investment in the country.

Wellington tumbled almost two per cent as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's government was rocked by its handling of sexual assault allegations against a top Labour Party staffer.

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