Easing Covid policy in China boosts Asian markets, Yuan gets stronger

The Asian markets started the new business week on a positive note with Hong Kong’s Hang Sang up by 4.29 percent in response to China relaxed its Covid-related restrictions.

After weeks of protests and unrest among the population, China eased virus testing rules in some cities which may be followed by more measures. Beijing has gained the notorious distinction thanks to the Zero-Covid police.

During Monday’s morning session, Hang Sang made the most gains (3.46 percent) in the region, with the Hang Seng Tech Index rising 8.61 percent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite added 1.76 percent and the Shenzhen Component 0.0.92.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan gained 0.15 percent and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.33 percent. However, South Korea’s Kospi was down by 0.62 percent.

Meanwhile, oil prices initially rose by 2 percent before paring gains to trade around 1 percent higher as OPEC+ stuck to its policy of lowering oil production and China relaxed some Covid rules.

Yuan gets stronger

It is not just the Chinese stocks as Yuan too strengthened to around 7 against the US dollar following loosening of China’s Covid policies.

The offshore yuan traded at 6.9861 against the greenback, strengthening past 7-levels for the first time since mid-September.

Beijing and Shenzhen are taking steps to loosen testing requirements and quarantine rules despite the daily case count hovering near all-time highs.

US job report

On Friday, the data released by the US Labor Department showed that job growth was much better than expected in November despite the Federal Reserve’s aggressive efforts to slow the labor market and tackle inflation.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 263,000 for the month while the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for an increase of 200,000 on the payrolls number and 3.7 percent for the jobless rate.

The monthly gain was a slight decrease from October’s upwardly revised 284,000. A broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons edged lower to 6.7 percent.

In reaction to the hotter-than-expected labor data, the US stocks had cut much of their earlier losses Friday as investors looked past hotter-than-expected labor data to the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up just 34.87 points, or 0.1 percent, to 34,429.88 points after hitting a session low of more than 350 points down.

The S&P 500 dipped 0.1 percent to 4,071.70, rebounding from an earlier loss of 1.2 percent. The Nasdaq Composite also made up ground to end nearly 0.2 percent lower at 11,461.50 points. The tech-heavy index dropped as much as 1.6 percent earlier in the day.

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