Asian stocks were steady on Monday and treasuries held an advance as traders weighed Jerome Powell’s signal that pandemic-era Federal Reserve policy support will be withdrawn cautiously and gradually.
Shares gained in Japan, slipped in Hong Kong and fluctuated in China, where Beijing’s regulatory broadside remains in focus. U.S. futures were steady after a record Wall Street close in the wake of Chair Powell’s Jackson Hole speech. Powell said the Fed may start paring bond purchases this year but is in no hurry to raise interest rates and will be guided by data on Covid-19 risks.
Powell didn’t give a specific timeline for scaling back stimulus. Traders are awaiting U.S. jobs data this week to assess whether the economic recovery merits an earlier tapering. Strong figures could extend the first weekly steepening of the Treasury yield curve since July. The dollar held a drop.
SGX Nifty 50 Index futures for September delivery rise 0.5% to 16,816, while MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index adds 0.5% to 198.35. The NSE Nifty 50 closed 0.4% higher at 16,705.2 on Friday.
The latest step in China’s curbs on private industry is a two-month campaign to crack down on commercial platforms and social media accounts that post finance-related information deemed economically harmful.
Central banks are seeking to reduce monetary policy support in part to keep a lid on inflation, while at the same time nurturing economic recoveries facing challenges from the delta virus strain. The fast-spreading variant has dealt a bigger blow to reopening in Asia because of lagging vaccinations.
Elsewhere, gold held gains and Bitcoin was trading around $49,000.
Back home, Divi’s Laboratories, Marico are among the companies to hold annual shareholders’ meeting; Jindal Steel & Power mulls raising of funds including in foreign currency, to be issued in one or more tranches; Bharti Airtel has announced to raise $2.85 billion via rights issue.