Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Thursday. Stock market trading was mainly dominated by the actions of central banks. For example, China’s central bank cut interest rates on loans to financial institutions for a year to stimulate lending and boost the ailing economy. In the US, the Federal Reserve kept key interest rates unchanged as expected. The central bank has hinted at further rate hikes later this year.
Also expected is the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision, which is expected to raise interest rates further in the euro zone in the fight against high inflation. In Japan, central bankers met on Friday to discuss interest rates, with the ultra-loose stimulus unchanged.
Meanwhile, Shanghai’s stock market rose 0.1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hong Kong index rose 0.8 percent. In addition to the first interest rate cut in ten months, investors processed a series of disappointing macroeconomic data. For example, both Chinese retail sales and industrial production rose less than expected in May. Youth unemployment rose to a record 20.8 percent last month and exports fell for the first time in two months.
The Nikkei in Tokyo continued its advance and gained 0.4 percent in the last hour of trading. Sentiment was supported by an unexpected increase in Japanese exports in May. Toyota edged higher, rising 0.7 percent. The carmaker rose 6 percent earlier a day after a well-received update from the company on its strategy in the field of electric vehicles and new battery technologies. Japanese chip companies Advantest and Tokyo Electron also did well, gaining 2.7 and 1.9 percent.
All Ordinaries in Sydney rose 0.2 percent. A surprisingly strong increase in employment in Australia in May has raised the prospect of further interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of Australia. A strong labor market gives the central bank more room to slow the economy with higher borrowing costs to fight inflation. The Kospi in Seoul lagged other bourses in the region, losing 0.4 percent.
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