Asian Shares Gain Following Reassurances From China on Yuan

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -
An investor uses a monitor to check stock information on desk in front of an electronic board showing stock information on the first trading day after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday at a brokerage house in Beijing, China, February 15, 2016. China stocks opened more than 2 percent lower on Monday, as they played catch-up with bearish global markets after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
An investor uses a monitor to check stock information on a desk in front of an electronic board showing stock data at a brokerage house in Beijing, China. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

 

Asian shares were mostly higher Friday after China’s central bank governor pledged not to devalue the yuan for the sake of export competitiveness. But gains were limited as oil prices fell back and a G-20 financial leaders meeting in Shanghai offered mixed messages over the potential for new stimuli to stave off the risk of recession.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent to 16,188.41 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.6 percent to 19,186.72. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed nearly flat at 4,945.10. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.2 percent to 2,774.09 after plunging 6.4 percent Thursday. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1 percent to 1,920.16. Markets in Southeast Asia rose and Taiwan was higher.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank, told a conference on the sidelines of a meeting of financial leaders of the Group of 20 industrial nations that Beijing would not engage in devaluations for the sake of its export competitiveness. Zhou urged that the gathering focus on managing lackluster global demand, structural economic reforms and promoting “sustainable and balanced” growth.

“Taken alongside Ministry of Finance proposals that China can afford a fiscal deficit of 4 percent of GDP, further stimulatory support does look forthcoming in 2016,” Angus Nicholson of IG said in a commentary. “However, Zhou Xiaochuan is unlikely to be able to abide by all his statements today, at least if we take them at face value.”

Finance ministers and central bankers of the G-20 rich and developing economies were seeking to douse hopes that a two-day meeting in Shanghai, which began Friday, will produce specific growth plans similar to those rolled out in 2009 in response to the global crisis. Instead, many were urging faster progress on pro-growth structural reforms instead of relying on monetary and fiscal policy to boost growth.

A late-day surge pushed U.S. stocks sharply higher on Thursday, propelled by a recovery in energy companies and bank stocks, which have been hit hard this year. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 212.30 points, or 1.3 percent, to close at 16,697.29. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 21.90 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 1,951.70 and the Nasdaq composite rose 39.60 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 4,582.20.

U.S. crude shed 1 cent to $33.06 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed up 92 cents or nearly 3 percent to $33.07 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, fell 11 cents to $35.59 a barrel. On Thursday, it rose 63 cents to $35.70 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 112.66 yen from 112.30 in the previous day’s trading. The euro climbed to $1.1055 from $1.1020.