Asia stocks rise, dollar clobbered as US data points to accommodative Fed

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SINGAPORE – Asian stocks rose on Monday after the Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs on Friday on bets the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy will continue following lackluster US data, with that view sending the dollar reeling to a 10-month low.

Markets are awaiting China’s second-quarter gross domestic product, due at 0200 GMT (10 a.m. in Manila). Economists expect the economy to have expanded 6.8 percent from a year earlier, cooling from the previous quarter’s 6.9 percent pace.

A surprisingly upbeat reading would likely lift stocks and global commodity prices, but a weak outcome could boost bearish bets on the yuan, which has gained about 2 percent against the dollar so far this year.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.2 percent early on Monday.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.1 percent.

Australian shares were 0.1 percent lower, while South Korea’s KOSPI jumped 0.5 percent.

Wall Street closed higher on Friday, after data showed consumer prices were unchanged in June and retail sales fell for a second straight month, pointing to tame inflation and subdued expectations of strong economic growth in the second quarter.

The chances of a rate hike in December fell to 43.1 percent after the data came out from 55 percent late Thursday, according to the CME Group’s Fedwatch tool.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of trade-weighted peers, hit a 10-month low early on Monday. It was trading at 95.102, marginally lower than its close on Friday, when it lost 0.6 percent.

“Friday’s U.S. data led to more USD selling,” Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA, wrote in a note.

“With less than a 50 percent December rate hike probability priced in, and with no supportive Fed speak on the calendar before July 26th, the dollar could struggle.”

US 10-year Treasury yields, however, which fell to as low as 2.279, recovered to end at 2.3319 percent on Friday.

The dollar was also steady at 112.45 yen early on Monday, after closing down 0.7 percent on Friday.

The Bank of Japan is expected to keep its monetary policy settings unchanged when it meets on Wednesday and Thursday.

The weakness in the dollar saw other currencies soar, with the Australian dollar hitting its highest level in over two years and the Canadian dollar touching a one-year high early on Monday.

The Australian dollar was trading little changed from its Friday close at $0.7824, following a 1.3 percent surge, and the Canadian dollar was flat at $1.2642, retaining Friday’s 0.6 percent jump.

The euro was also steady at $1.1474, close to its highest in a year hit last week, after gaining 0.6 percent on Friday.

In commodities, oil inched higher, extending last week’s gains on signs of lower US inventories and higher Chinese demand.

US crude rose 0.1 percent to $46.61 a barrel in early trade.

Global benchmark Brent added 0.15 percent to $49.

The dollar’s loss was gold’s gain, with the precious metal rising on Friday. Spot gold was 0.2 percent higher at $1,230.70 an ounce.



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