EghtesadOnline: Stocks in Asia climbed amid low trading volume and the dollar erased early losses as Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said the economy is strong enough to withstand three or four interest rate increases this year.
The Kospi index headed for a fresh record and Tokyo shares were buoyed as the yen gave up early gains. The rand erased a rally after South African President Jacob Zuma survived a bid by some members of the African National Congress’s top leadership to order his removal from office. Markets are closed in the U.S., the U.K. and China. North Korea fired another missile, which appears to be a Scud variant.
A six-week surge in global equities pushed stocks to a record high as investors bet global economic growth can withstand higher U.S. interest rates as soon as next month. While stocks have recovered from worries surrounding the prospects for President Donald Trump’s reform policies, 10-year Treasuries are on course for a fourth monthly advance amid concern inflation is lagging expectations, Bloomberg reported.
Disagreement on the strength of the U.S. comes as the first hints of China’s economic performance in May suggest that a slowdown in growth is taking hold as policy makers beef up efforts to clamp down on financial risks.
“The U.S. economy is about as close to the Fed’s dual mandate goals as we’ve ever been,” Williams said in remarks prepared for delivery in Singapore on Monday. “With the attainment of our dual mandate goals close at hand, it’s more important than ever for monetary policy to work toward what I like to call a ‘Goldilocks economy’ -– an economy that doesn’t run too hot or too cold.”
Williams doesn’t vote on monetary policy this year, but he worked closely with Fed Chair Janet Yellen when she led the San Francisco Fed and he was its director of research, and is seen as an influential voice at the central bank.
Here are the key upcoming events this week:
- Fed policy makers including Lael Brainard and Patrick Harker are due to speak at events this week following Williams’ comments on Monday, ahead of the so-called quiet period for the Fed starting June 3, leading up to the policy meeting.
- European Central Bank President Mario Draghi speaks to the European Parliament on Monday.
- Chinese data on manufacturing and and services industries is due May 31.
- The monthly U.S. jobs report is due on June 2.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- The Topix index advanced 0.3 percent as of 1:37 p.m. in Tokyo. The Kospi added 0.2 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent. The Hang Seng increased 0.2 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.1 percent after the underlying gauge closed at a record high on Friday.
Currencies and Bonds
- The yen was little changed at 111.35 per dollar.
- The rand was flat, erasing a gain of 1.8 percent. Pressure had built on Zuma to quit following his March 31 decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle, a move that sparked public protests and cost the country its investment grade credit rating.
- The Aussie fell 0.1 percent to 74.38 U.S. cents. The kiwi rose 0.1 percent to 70.67 U.S. cents.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was 2.25 percent at the end of last week.
- Oil lost 0.2 percent to $49.68 a barrel. Crude rallied 1.8 percent on Friday, paring a weekly loss, as investors tempered their disappointment over an agreement by OPEC and its allies to extend production cuts without deepening them.
- Gold fell less than 0.1 percent to $1,265.96 an ounce.