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Asia report: Most markets rise as RBA holds rates

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 18 Jun 2024

Asia report: Most markets rise as RBA holds rates

(Sharecast News) - Asia-Pacific markets experienced a significant rebound on Tuesday, mirroring Wall Street's positive momentum from the previous night.
Investors were digesting the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) decision to maintain its benchmark interest rate at 4.35% for the fifth consecutive meeting, citing persistent inflation concerns.

"The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep rates unchanged, citing persistent domestic price pressures," said TickMill market analyst Patrick Munnelly.

"This is a common issue faced by central banks worldwide."

Munnelly added that the day was "relatively quiet" in Asia, with limited economic data in Europe.

"Attention now shifts back to political unrest in the region.

"However, futures indicate that markets may recover after last week's downturn."

Most markets in the green after strong Wall Street session

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 climbed by 1% to close at 38,482.11, while the Topix index rose 0.58% to 2,715.76.

Notable performers on Tokyo's benchmark included LY Corporation, which surged 7.76%, TDK, up by 6.32%, and DOWA Holdings, which gained 5.8%.

China's markets also saw gains, with the Shanghai Composite rising 0.48% to 3,030.25 and the Shenzhen Component increasing by 0.4% to 9,318.47.

Leading the charge in Shanghai were Grace Fabric Technology and Hylink Digital Solution, both soaring 10.06%, followed closely by Guangzhou Tongda Auto Electric with a 10.03% increase.

In Hong Kong, however, the Hang Seng Index fell slightly by 0.11% to 17,915.55.

WuXi AppTec, Longfor Properties, and NetEase were among the laggards, dropping 3.82%, 3.18%, and 3.1% respectively.

South Korea's Kospi index posted a 0.72% gain, closing at 2,763.92, as Hyundai Glovis saw a substantial rise of 6.58%, while Hanon Systems and SK Hynix increased by 5.24% and 5.16% respectively.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index increased by 1.01% to 7,778.10.

Atlas Arteria, Infratil, and Sigma Healthcare were the top gainers, with respective increases of 5.11%, 4.87%, and 4.55%.

New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 index advanced by 0.59% to 11,767.40, with Infratil again performing well, up 3.86%, followed by Fletcher Building and ANZ Group Holdings, which rose 3.46% and 2.45% respectively.

In currency markets, the dollar was last 0.29% stronger on the yen to trade at JPY 158.19, while it remained stable against the Aussie at AUD 1.5121, and appreciated 0.47% on the Kiwi, changing hands at NZD 1.6385.

Oil prices saw a slight decline, with Brent crude futures last down 0.53% on ICE at $83.80 per barrel, and the NYMEX quote for West Texas Intermediate dropping 0.54% to $79.90.

RBA warns of persistent inflation as it holds interest rates

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced that it would keep its cash rate steady at 4.35%, a 12-year high.

The decision, widely anticipated by economists, came after the central bank's latest two-day meeting, as it expressed concerns about persistent inflation in its post-meeting statement.

"Inflation is easing but has been doing so more slowly than previously expected, and it remains high," the bank noted.

The RBA emphasised the uncertainty surrounding the future path of interest rates, stating that it aimed to bring inflation back to target within a reasonable timeframe.

Its board reiterated its flexible stance, indicating that it might consider further rate increases if necessary.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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