Asian markets drop as era of cheap cash draws to a close

Asian markets get 2022 off to mixed start in thinned trade


Hong Kong: Following the healthy gains last weekend, the New Year’s start was a mixed blessing in Asian trading during the holiday on Monday. The data showed that the regional economy improved last month, which brought some cheers.

However, investors are still concerned about a range of issues, including the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, inflation, the cancellation of stimulus measures by the central bank, and geopolitical tensions.

Although the trading floor is full of uncertainty in the last few months of 2021, with the reopening of the economy and the return to normal life in most countries, the global stock market has achieved a blockbuster rise in 2021, which has inspired people to continue the recovery. Optimism on the right track.

Data shows that last month factory activity across the region-including South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines-rebounded, providing a bit of optimism for the start of the year. Due to falling commodity prices, China released better-than-expected data on Friday.

Due to news that Singapore’s economy grew by 7.2% last year and suffered its worst performance since independence in 2020, Singapore has achieved healthy growth.

Seoul, Taipei and Jakarta also rose, but Manila fell.

Jun Rong Yeap, of IG Asia, said: “While the rising Omicron spreads may warrant a cautious approach toward reopening, some expectations may be that improved vaccinations will aid to limit the eventual economic impact.”

Hong Kong reversed early gains, with tech firms acting as a major drag, while sentiment was also hurt by news that trading in embattled developer China Evergrande had been suspended and providing a reminder of the crisis in China’s vast property sector.

Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Wellington and Bangkok were closed for holidays.

Oil prices edged up slightly as eyes turn to the latest meeting of OPEC and other major producers on Tuesday, where they will discuss plans to lift output in light of the impact of Omicron, which has forced some governments to impose lockdowns and airlines to cancel flights.

The commodity was getting some support from a drop in Libyan output as workers try to fix a pipeline after a militia closed down the country’s biggest oilfield.

“I think OPEC+’s decision is a foregone conclusion and Omicron news and data will remain the major influence on oil sentiment,” Vandana Hari, of Vanda Insights, said.

“We’re likely seeing some bargain hunting (Monday) after a rush to sell at the end of last week.”

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