Coronavirus latest: Get a jab or go to jail, says Philippines’ Duterte

Coronavirus latest: Get a jab or go to jail, says Philippines’ Duterte

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Stocks across Asia-Pacific jumped following a rebound on Wall Street and oil rose to its highest level in two years as investors were reassured by signals that the Federal Reserve would continue to support the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

In early trading in the region on Tuesday, Japan’s Topix rose 2.4 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.2 per cent. China’s CSI 300 index of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks rose 0.3 per cent.

The moves followed a bounce for US stocks on Monday, with the S&P 500 closing up 1.4 per cent. US shares tumbled last week after the Federal Reserve pivoted to a more hawkish tone, prompting fears that interest rate rises could derail the global economic recovery.

But market sentiment got a boost on Monday from more dovish commentary from Fed officials including chair Jay Powell, who in prepared remarks ahead of congressional testimony on Tuesday said the central bank “will do everything we can to support the economy for as long as it takes to complete the recovery”.

John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, also said on Monday that the US economy was not yet ready for the central bank to start pulling back its hefty monetary support.

Pedestrians pass a stock market display in Hong Kong during a downpour on Tuesday © Kin Cheung/AP

Jean Boivin, head of the BlackRock Investment Institute, said that “the Fed’s new outlook will not translate into significantly higher policy rates any time soon”. He added: “We may see bouts of market volatility . . . but we advocate staying invested and looking through any turbulence.”

Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent during Asian trading on Tuesday, while those for London’s FTSE 100 were up 0.2 per cent.

Commodities prices, which were pummelled last week on concerns for the global economic outlook, also rose.

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, edged up 0.1 per cent to $75 a barrel for the first time since April 2019. Brent is up over 50 per cent this year, underscoring strong demand ahead of next week’s Opec+ meeting.

Bitcoin stabilised after dropping sharply in response to a warning from the People’s Bank of China on Monday that the country’s state banks and payment platforms must “investigate and identify” accounts facilitating cryptocurrency trading and block all such transactions.

The cryptocurrency gained 0.2 per cent in Asian trading to $32,635 but remains down more than 7 per cent this month.

Bond markets steadied after yields, which move inversely to prices, shot higher on Monday as investors abandoned the safety of government debt and dove back into stocks. Yields on the 10-year US Treasury fell 0.02 percentage points to 1.474 per cent.

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