Asia-Pacific markets rebound as Japan and Singapore GDP beat expectations

Asia-Pacific markets rose on Thursday

recovering from the previous day’s losses triggered by higher-than-expected U.S. inflation data. Investors also digested better-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) readings from Japan and Singapore, as well as trade numbers from South Korea.

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A woman rides her bicycle with the Marina Bay Sands hotel and high-rise buildings in the background in Singapore on Sept. 4, 2023.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged 3.4% to close at 38,140.12, testing 34-year highs and nearing its all-time high of 38,915.87 hit in 1989. The index was boosted by strong corporate earnings and a weaker yen. Japan’s economy grew by an annualized 5.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023, beating the median forecast of 4.4% by economists polled by Reuters. The expansion was driven by robust exports and private consumption, as the country eased some of its coronavirus restrictions.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index also gained 1.2% to end at 3,215.42, as the city-state reported a surprise GDP growth of 3.8% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared with the 2.5% expected by analysts. The economy contracted by 5.4% for the whole year of 2023, the worst recession since its independence in 1965, but the government expects a rebound of 4% to 6% in 2024.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.9% to finish at 2,620.42, as the country’s exports jumped by 16.7% year-on-year in the first 10 days of February, according to the customs agency. The increase was led by strong demand for semiconductors, automobiles, and wireless devices. Imports also rose by 15.4% over the same period, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.15 billion.

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Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 snapped a three-day losing streak and added 0.6% to close at 7,596.6, as the country’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1% in January, the lowest level since March 2020. The number of employed people increased by 29,100, beating the market expectation of 15,000.

The logo of Japanese tech giant Rakuten logo seen at the Mobile World Congress 2019

Meanwhile, markets in China and Hong Kong remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, edged up 0.1% to 90.72. Oil prices also rose, with Brent crude futures up 0.7% to $64.51 per barrel and U.S. crude futures up 0.6% to $61.28 per barrel.

Flag of Japan on dark blue background. 3D render

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Source : CNBC News

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