Risk appetite was back in Thursday’s Asian session. Following from Wall Street’s close higher, Asian markets were also up. Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 2.3 % and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was up 1.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, the Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Composite were closed for a holiday.
Helping support risk sentiment was data out of China. The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 49.8 in September, higher than August’s 49.7. It was expected to remain the same. Meanwhile, the Caixin Final Manufacturing PMI also ticked higher to 47.2 from a previous 47.0. While a number below 50 signifies contraction, the markets still chose to react positively to the data since it was not worse-than-expected.
The dollar rose against the yen but gains were limited as investors were cautious ahead of key US jobs data on Friday. The dollar hit a session high of 120.66 yen, moving off Wednesday’s low of 119.54 yen. Meanwhile a weaker yen helped the pair’s rally.
The latest Bank of Japan Tankan survey showed business conditions worsened in the three months to September. The index fell to 12 from 15. A reading of 13 was expected. The disappointing data will increase market expectations that the Bank of Japan could take further stimulus steps.
The euro remained under pressure after Wednesday’s disappointing Eurozone inflation report which showed the region’s economy slipped back into recession. The euro extended losses against the dollar in Asia to 1.1136.
The Australian dollar moved higher due to increased risk appetite and in reaction to the PMI data from China, which is Australia’s main trading partner. The aussie rose to 0.7066 from a session low of 0.6997.
Looking ahead, the markets will focus on PMI data out of the Eurozone, the UK and the US.
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