Asia-Pacific shares trade higher ahead of US inflation report

Thai baht to ‘recover strongest’ among regional currencies as China reopens: Credit Suisse

The Thai baht will have the “strongest recovery” among Southeast Asian currencies as China reopens, Credit Suisse Asia FX strategist Max Lin said.

Lin said Thailand has not imposed any travel restrictions on Chinese tourists and the government is “still very supportive” of tourism freedom.

“It looks like there will still be a lot of demand for regional tourism,” he said, pointing to reports of Chinese outbound tourism activity on travel booking websites.

The Thai baht strengthened back to levels seen in April 2022 and was last at 33.41 against the greenback.

– Lee Ing Shan

Apple suppliers in Asia mostly fell after reports of domestic screen production

Shares of some Apple suppliers in Asia fell after that Bloomberg reported that the company will start producing its own screens in 2024.

South Korea-listed LG Display shares fell 3.35 percent in afternoon trade shortly after the report, while Samsung Electronics traded 0.17 percent higher. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. also traded 0.41% lower.

Separately, Shenzhen-listed shares of BOE Technology Groupor Jingdongfang, rose more than 1% as Reuters reported that Apple’s supplier plans to invest a significant amount to build new factories in Vietnam.

— Jihe Lee

Cryptocurrencies trade higher even as Coinbase announces layoffs

Cryptocurrencies surged after the crypto company Coinbase announced plans to cut 20% of its workforce as it looks to preserve money during the crypto market downturn.

Bitcoin last traded 1.55% higher at $17,459.63 according to Coin Metrics. Ether gained 1% to $1,337.85.

Other digital coins such as Cronos and Cardano have also advanced.

Chief executive Brian Armstrong said there was “no way” to cut costs and increase the chances of “doing well in any scenario” without cutting headcount.

– Lee Ying Shan, Kate Rooney

Philippine inflation to return to 2% by 2024, says finance secretary

Asia-Pacific shares trade higher ahead of US inflation report

Inflation in the Philippines is expected to return to the government’s target range in two years, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

Diokno said he is confident that average inflation for 2023 will be between 2.5% to 4.5% before falling to 2% to 4% by next year, he told CNBC on the sidelines of the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong.

Headline inflation in the Philippines still remains high, increasing to 8.1% in December 2022 from 8% the previous month, according to government data.

Philippine Central Bank Governor Felipe Medala announced on Monday that interest rates will be raised by another 25 to 50 basis points in February. Diokno added that he expects the central bank to turn around sometime this year.

“There is also the possibility that we will cut at some point this year because we may be overshooting,” he said.

— Charmaine Jacob

Australian consumer prices rose 7.3% in November on higher house and food prices

Australia’s consumer price index rose 7.3% year-on-year in November, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statisticsa sign that inflationary pressures have not yet abated.

The figure was in line with Reuters expectations and higher than last month’s reading of 6.9%.

Housing, food and transportation are among the main components fueling the increase, the release said.

Australia separately reported sales growth of 1.4% for November compared to a month ago, boosted by Black Friday sales.

— Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: This global ETF is the only fund to post gains every year over the past decade

The only exchange-traded ETF that has had a positive return every year over the past decade was revealed by CNBC Pro.

It is the only fund of nearly 7,000 stock ETFs worldwide verified by CNBC Pro to not have a single year of negative returns between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2022.

It also offered investors a 14% compound annual growth rate over the same period, significantly more than funds tracking a broader index, according to Koyfin data.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

– Ganesh Rao

South Korea’s unemployment rate rises to an 11-month high

South Korea’s unemployment rate rose 3.3 percent in December to an 11-month high, government data showed.

The reading was higher than November’s figure of 2.9%

Despite higher unemployment, total employment in 2022 reached 28.089 million against 816,000 from a year ago.

– Lee Ing Shan, Jihe Lee

CNBC Pro: “Dear mistake: Citi says stop hoarding money — and reveals two areas to invest in

Investors experienced a tough 2022 as stocks and bonds fell amid broader market turmoil.

While many have sought refuge in the relative safety of cash, Citi says it’s time to put it into action and outlined two ways to use it for higher returns.

Professional subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

The Fed should remain politically independent as it fights inflation, Powell says

Chairman of the Fed Jerome Powell in Tuesday emphasized the need for the central bank to be freed from political influence as it grapples with persistently high inflation.

In a speech to Sweden’s Riksbank, Powell noted that stabilizing prices requires making tough decisions that may be politically unpopular.

“Price stability is the foundation of a healthy economy and provides society with immeasurable benefits over time. But restoring price stability when inflation is high may require measures that are unpopular in the short term as we raise interest rates to slow the economy,” the chairman said in prepared remarks.

“The lack of direct political control over our decisions allows us to take these necessary measures without considering short-term political factors,” he added.

— Jeff Cox

Copper hit its highest price since June

Med hit a high not seen since June.

The metal rose just under 1.3% to $4.0775. It hit a high of $4.0835, its most expensive since reaching $4.1160 on June 17.

Copper is up about 7% since the start of 2023.

– Gina Francola, Alex Haring

Coinbase to cut 20% of workforce

Coinbase Shares Up 6% after the crypto exchange operator announced plans to cut 20% of its workforce in an effort to cut costs.

The cuts will affect 950 jobs and mark the second round of layoffs at the company in recent months. Coinbase laid off 18% of its workforce in June in preparation for a potential recession and crypto winter, saying it grew “too fast” during the bull market.

Crypto markets have been under pressure since the collapse of FTX, one of the biggest operators in the industry.

Coinbase said the new round of cuts will reduce operating expenses by 25% for the quarter ending in March, according to a new regulatory filing.

— Kate Rooney, Samantha Subin

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