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World News Round up

FX Updates: Swedish Krona Appreciates by 1.44%

Top currency gainers are Swedish Krona (1.44%), Norwegian Krone (1.38%) and New Zealand Dollar (1.35%). Biggest losers are Dollar Index (-0.78%). In addition, there was a slight change on British Pound (0.83%), Euro (0.7%) and Japanese Yen (1.2%).

Energy Commodities Updates: Natural gas Rises by 2.78%

Top commodity gainers are Natural gas (2.78%), Gasoline (1.15%) and Crude Oil WTI (1.08%). Biggest losers are Urals Crude Oil (-1.05%), Methanol (-0.99%) and Natural Gas UK GBP (-0.73%). In addition, there was a slight change on Brent Crude Oil (0.61%).

Metals Commodities Updates: Silver Rises by 3.94%

Top commodity gainers are Silver (3.94%), Platinum (2.12%) and Gold (1.40%). Biggest losers are Steel Rebar (-1.76%).

Metals Commodities Updates: Silver Rises by 3.94%

Top commodity gainers are Silver (3.94%), Platinum (2.12%) and Gold (1.40%). Biggest losers are Steel Rebar (-1.76%).

New Zealand Shares Track Wall Street Higher

The NZX 50 Index rose 14.7 or 0.1% to 11,540.6 in early deals on Thursday, snapping a three-day decline and tracking gains on Wall Street overnight as optimism about US interest rate cuts in September after the inflation rate eased in April. Traders await the producer prices in the country on Friday, with the market expecting continued to rise in Q1 despite easing from the previous quarter to 0.5% and 0.6% each for output and input. Positive sentiment was also lifted by expectations that Chinese industrial production and retail sales growth accelerated in April. Materials, consumer staples, and financials were mainly higher, with gains from Ryman Healthcare (4.5%), Vulcan Steel (2.1%), Delegat Group (0.7%), Australian Foundation Investment Company (0.7%), Auckland International Airport (0.4%), Gentrack Group (0.3%), and Infratil (0.3%).

Stocks in Australia Hit 5-week High

ASX200 increased to a 5-week high of 7834.00 Index Points. Over the past 4 weeks, Australia Stock Market Index (AU200) gained 2.89%, and in the last 12 months, it increased 8.26%.

Japanese Shares Mixed After GDP Data

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.6% to around 38,600 while the broader Topix Index lost 0.2% to 2,725 in mixed trade on Thursday as investors assessed Japan’s first-quarter gross domestic product data. Japan’s economy contracted at an annualized 2% in the first quarter of 2024, coming in worse than market expectations for a 2% contraction as private consumption fell for the fourth straight quarter. The latest figures complicate the Bank of Japan’s stance, which needs to balance its support for the economy with efforts to defend a weak currency. Meanwhile, US stocks rallied to record highs overnight as US inflation slowed, bolstering bets that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates in September. Technology stocks led the charge, with gains from Tokyo Electron (3.6%), Disco Corp (3%), Lasertec (1.9%), SoftBank Group (2.1%) and Advantest (2.6%). Meanwhile, sharp losses were seen from Mitsubishi UFJ (-5.2%) and Toyota Motor (-2.1%).

Asian Markets Gain as Wall Street Hits Record

Asian equity markets climbed on Thursday, tracking a record-setting rally on Wall Street overnight as US consumer inflation slowed in April. The soft US inflation reading reinforced expectations that the US Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates in September. Meanwhile, data showed that Japan’s economy contracted by a more than expected 2% annualized rate in the first quarter as private consumption fell for the fourth consecutive quarter due to cost of living pressures and sluggish wages. In Australia, the unemployment rate increased more than anticipated to 4.1% in April from 3.8% in March. Shares in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China all advanced.

Offshore Yuan Peaks at 2-Week High on Dollar Weakness

The offshore yuan appreciated toward 7.20 per dollar, reaching its highest level in two weeks, as the dollar extended losses following the release of US economic data. The annual core inflation rate in the US slowed to 3.6% in April, its lowest in three years and in line with market expectations. Although still above the Fed's 2% target, it still eased from March's 3.8%. Moreover, US retail sales unexpectedly stalled, failing to meet market forecasts of a 0.4% rise. As a result, these indicators led the investors to anticipate potential rate cuts as early as September, especially with the upcoming US presidential election in November. In economic news, sentiment was boosted buoyed by reports that China is considering a proposal for local governments to purchase millions of unsold homes, in a bid to stabilize and revitalize the property market. This optimism persisted despite US President Biden's recent decision to impose significant tariff hikes on a range of Chinese goods.

Gold Climbs on Fed Rate Cut Bets

Gold climbed past $2,390 per ounce on Thursday, trading at its highest level in nearly a month, buoyed by a weaker dollar and lower Treasury yields, after latest US CPI data indicated a slowdown, strengthening expectations of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Monthly inflation slowed to 0.3%, slightly below the expected 0.4%, while on a 12-months basis headline inflation eased to 3.4% and core inflation to 3.6%, aligning with forecasts. Additionally, retail sales were flat for the month, contrary to market expectations of a 0.4% increase, signaling some softening in consumer demand. Investors are now pricing in around a 75% chance of a Fed rate reduction in September and 85% for November. Lower interest rates boost the appeal for non-yielding gold.

Oil Extends Gains as US Crude Stocks Fall

WTI crude futures rose above $79 per barrel on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session as a larger-than-expected decline in weekly US crude inventories supported oil prices. EIA data showed that US crude stockpiles fell by 2.508 million barrels last week, declining for the second straight week and exceeding forecasts for a 1.362 million barrel draw. US gasoline and distillate fuel inventories also saw unexpected decreases. Moreover, soft US inflation data for April bolstered bets that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates in September, boosting the demand outlook. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency slashed its global demand growth forecast for this year by 140,000 barrels per day to 1.1 million. Elsewhere, the latest OPEC report indicated that member countries exceeded their production cap by 568,000 barrels per day in April, but maintained solid demand projections of 2.25 million barrels per day in 2024 and 1.85 million barrels per day in 2025.

South Korean Shares Rises Near 7-Week Highs

The benchmark KOSPI advanced 0.8% to around 2,752 points on Thursday, trading at its highest level in nearly seven weeks as investors returned from a local holiday to track an all-time surge on Wall Street overnight, driven by indications of decelerating US inflation. The US headline and core annual inflation rates both eased in April, sparking optimism for price pressure relief, while retail sales remained stagnant, defying market expectations of growth. The latest economic figures raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will deliver at least two rate cuts this year. Among sectors, financials posted the biggest increase, with notable gains from KB Financial (3.6%), Hana Financial (3.9%), and Samsung Life (2.2%). Other index heavyweights also advanced, including SK Hynix (4.2%), Celltrion (1.2%), Naver (1.9%), and Hyundai Mobis (1.3%).

Fiji Inflation Rate Highest Since 2011

The annual inflation rate in Fiji increased to 7.1% in April 2024 from 4.6% in the previous month. It marked the highest level since December 2011, with food prices rising the most in over three years (12.2% vs 7.3% in March) and transport prices advancing at the fastest pace in five months (5.5% vs 4.2%) while housing prices accelerated (3.1% vs 2.3%). Upward price pressure also came from alcoholic beverages and tobacco (8.2% vs 4.5%), recreation and culture (1.5% vs 1.7%), restaurants and hotels (10% vs 10%),

Indonesia Residential Property Prices Accelerates in Q1

Residential property prices in Indonesia increased by 1.89 percent year-on-year during the first quarter of 2024, following a 1.74 percent gain in the previous period. due to faster rises in prices of small houses (2.41% vs 2.15%). Costs advanced moderated for large houses (1.53% vs 1.58% in Q4) and medium properties (1.60% vs 1.87%). Among cities, prices rose the most in Pontianal (4.68%), Samarinda (2.45%), and Denpasar (1.48%). By contrast, prices moderated in Balikpapan (0.48), Surabaya (0.34%), and Lampung (0.10%), while declining in Pekanbaru (-0.13%). Meanwhile, sales in residential property jumped by 31.16% yoy in the first quarter of 2024, accelerating sharply from a 3.27% rise in the fourth quarter of 2023, boosted by rises in all types of residential properties.