|19 October, 2017

Asian shares near 10-year peak

Stocks continue to ride on a global equities rally

 Asian stocks rose to near decade highs on Thursday, continuing to ride on a global equities rally.There was little market reaction to China data showing its economic growth cooled slightly to 6.8 percent in the third quarter year-on-year from the second quarter’s 6.9 percent, which had been widely predicted.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent, nearing a 10-year peak scaled on Tuesday.

In the Middle East, petrochemical shares dragged down Saudi Arabia's stock market on Wednesday while Dubai real estate developers were actively traded after two of them reported third-quarter earnings.The Saudi index fell 0.7 percent as 12 of 14 listed petrochemical producers dropped, with Yanbu Petrochemical down 1.9 percent.

In Dubai, the index edged up 0.1 percent. Union Properties , the most heavily traded stock, jumped 3.8 percent while Deyaar, the second most active, lost 0.4 percent. Abu Dhabi's index added 0.3 percent.In Egypt, the index climbed 0.5 percent as Palm Hills Development gained 4.2 percent. Electro Cable Egypt jumped 9.3 percent to 0.94 Egyptian pound in its heaviest trade since March 2014, testing technical resistance on the January and December peaks of 0.95 pound.

In commodities, oil prices were stable on Thursday, supported by ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts, tensions in the Middle East and lower U.S. production due to hurricane-enforced closures.Brent crude futures were at $58.10 at 0411 GMT, slightly lower than their last close, but around 30 percent above mid-year levels.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $51.97 per barrel, also down a touch from its last settlement, but almost a quarter higher than in June.

Gold prices were nearly unchanged early on Thursday.Spot gold was steady at $1,281.24 an ounce at 0053 GMT. It hit an over one-week low of $1,276.73 in the previous session.

In currencies, the dollar hit its highest in about two weeks versus the yen on Thursday, supported by this week’s rise in U.S. bond yields, with the near-term focus on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on the next chair of the Federal Reserve.The dollar rose to as high as 113.095 yen in early Asian trade, its strongest level since Oct. 6. The dollar last changed hands at 112.92 yen, steady from late U.S. trade on Wednesday.

In other news, China will fend off risks from excessive optimism that could lead to a “Minsky Moment”, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on Thursday, adding that corporate debt levels are relatively high and household debt is rising too quickly.

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