Asian stocks move away from year lows, New Zealand keeps rates stable By Reuters – .

Asian stocks fall as new COVID cases rise By Reuters – .

© Reuters. An investor looks at a stock quote chart at a brokerage office in Beijing, China on January 3, 2020. REUTERS / Jason Lee

By Alun John

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian stocks edged down to their lowest level since the start of the year on Wednesday despite overnight declines on Wall Street, while New Zealand’s central bank defied expectations in n ‘not raising interest rates as the country is on lockdown due to COVID-19 Delta variant cases.

The New Zealand dollar fell to a nine-month low at $ 0.6868 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s decision, but quickly recovered, climbing back to $ 0.6933 as investors absorbed projections showing that policymakers still expect to raise rates in the coming months.

“They said no, because you have COVID and too much uncertainty. Give it a few weeks, let the smoke clear, and then the tightening cycle is still on the table, ”said Imre Speizer, New Zealand head of strategy at Westpac. .

In stock markets, the largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks excluding Japan rose 0.45%, breaking five successive sessions of declines, but still trading near affected year lows in July.

“A story around peak economic growth in the second or third quarter really hits the mark,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan (NYSE 🙂 Asset Management.

“Investors are trying to balance reopening economies as immunization rates rise, but are also seeing the effects of the Delta variant spreading and this is reflected in slowing economic data most of which has been surprising to the decline over the past two weeks, ”says Craig.

China on Monday announced a 7.9% year-on-year GDP growth in the second quarter, lower than the 8.1% forecast in a Reuters poll of economists,

But sentiment was stronger on Wednesday, helped by a drop in reported COVID cases in China.

Chinese blue chips rose 0.66%, the Hong Kong benchmark gained 0.71% and South Korean stocks rebounded from an eight-day losing streak to 0.82%.

increased by 0.57%.

Overnight, Wall Street fell after retail sales fell below expectations and valuations became increasingly strained. It lost 0.71% after setting a new record on Monday. ()

“In today’s market, it’s very difficult to find undervalued stocks to recommend to investors,” said Dave Sekera, chief US market strategist at Morningstar Research Services.

US equity futures, the, were little changed in Asian hours, down 0.01%.

In currency markets, the dollar hit a nine-month high against the euro and held close to recent highs against other major currencies as concerns over COVID-19 forced investors to cut their exposure to riskier currencies.

Oil edged up in Asian hours after falling for four sessions in response to the strengthening dollar and concerns about rising coronavirus cases.

rose 0.11% to $ 66.66 a barrel.

The benchmark’s return was 1.2684% from its US close of 1.258% on Tuesday.

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