Asia stocks rally as China data buoys mood; dollar stays strong

Tokyo, Sept.15 (BNA): Asian stocks rose strongly on Friday, extending a global equity rally, after better-than-expected Chinese economic data added to the good vibes from expectations that tightening campaigns by the world’s biggest central banks were close to over, reports Reuters.


The dollar stuck close to a six-month peak from overnight against major peers, buoyed by robust U.S. economic data, while the euro sagged following the European Central Bank’s signal that Thursday’s rate hike was probably the last this cycle. Crude oil hit a fresh 10-month top.


Chinese gauges of retail sales and industrial output for August handily topped economists forecasts, providing additional tailwinds from the central bank’s decision overnight to cut banks’ reserve ratio requirements for a second time this year.


It was not all blue skies though, with data earlier in the day showing the biggest drop in new home prices in 10 months – another reminder of the property sector’s struggles, after Moody’s cut the sector’s outlook to negative.


The overall improving economic outlook bolstered the Chinese yuan, which gained about 0.3% to 7.2709 per dollar in offshore markets .


Australia’s dollar , which often trades as a proxy for the country’s top trading partner, rose 0.3% to $0.6460.


However, a gauge of the U.S. dollar against six of its biggest developed-market peers stuck close to the six-month peak it reached overnight, buoyed primarily by the euro’s steep overnight slide.


The so-called U.S. dollar index edged down 0.08% to 105.33, after hitting the highest since early March at 105.43 on Thursday.

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The euro was flat at $1.0643, languishing near the overnight low of $1.0632, the lowest level since March 20.


The European Central Bank (ECB) hiked its key interest rate to a record 4% on Thursday, but hinted that this latest increase would likely be its last.


The dollar index is on track for a ninth straight weekly advance, the longest run in nine years.


Whether it can extend that to a tenth week depends of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s tone after the central bank policy decision on Sept. 20, Sycamore said.


In energy markets, crude oil extended its rise in Asia trading, touching fresh highs since November. Brent crude rose 0.5% to $94.16, while the U.S.


 


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