Asian shares higher after finance leaders back easy money
By ELAINE KURTENBACH
Oct. 16, 2017
TOKYO (AP) — Shares rose in Asia on Monday after leaders of global finance appealed at a weekend meeting of the International Monetary Fund for a continuation of low-interest rate policies to keep economic recoveries on track.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.6 percent to 21,288.12 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index surged 1.0 percent to 28,765.25. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2 percent to 2,477.63 and S&P ASX/200 advanced 0.6 percent to 5,848.40. The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.2 percent to 3,396.92 and shares in Southeast Asia were also higher.
GLOBAL FINANCE: Finance ministers declared the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis incomplete and said central banks should stick with low interest rates that make borrowing attractive to safeguard the still fragile world economy. The meeting in Washington also focused attention on the failure of such policies to fuel inflation outside of financial markets. The 189-nation IMF's communique warned there "is no room for complacency" as nations confront new challenges to global growth from a range of threats, including cyber-security attacks and more violent weather patterns linked to climate change.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "In the face of protectionist threats, global economies have enjoyed a synchronized upswing this year amidst a pickup in trade activity, but even then the outlook is not entirely rosy," Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. "To begin with, it is becoming increasingly evident that persistently low inflation has become a puzzle, even to central bank policymakers," it said.
CHINA PARTY MEETING: China's ruling Communist Party begins a congress Wednesday where President Xi Jinping, the country's most powerful leader in decades, will get a second five-year term as party leader. The meeting will be closely watched for indications of future policy at a time when the party is expanding its role in the world's second-largest economy even though strong job creation and through it poverty alleviation depend largely on the dynamism of the private sector.
WALL STREET'S FRIDAY: U.S. stocks finished mostly higher Friday to wrap up a subdued week, with technology companies doing most of the heavy lifting. Companies in retail, travel and entertainment logged gains after an upbeat report on retail spending by the Commerce Department. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 0.1 percent to 2,553.17. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 0.1 percent to 22,871.72 and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.2 percent, to close at a record high of 6,605.80.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil picked up 42 cents to $51.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 85 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $51.45 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 66 cents to $57.83 per barrel. It gained 92 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $57.17 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 111.95 yen from 111.82 yen. The euro dipped to $1.1806 from $1.1820.