Asian trade: Asian markets rose for a second day, helped by the ongoing declines in the Japanese yen’s value. The financials continued to rally tonight together with the automakers, both pulled higher by a weaker currency, helping the major indexes. U.S. futures also rose tonight.
Earlier in the day, a report showed that U.S. previously owned home sales fell 5.3% in January to the lowest level since 1997. Even though most analysts claim that things are getting better in the housing market, the economic indicators do not confirm such a trend.
After the Japanese economy shrank at 12.7% annualized pace in the last quarter, the Singapore economy contracted by 16.4% in the fourth quarter, also annualized, the most in the last three decades. Singapore is one of the leading Asian economies, and has among the highest standards of living in the world. Indonesia recently adopted a $6.1 billion stimulus plan, which would theoretically help the economy in the next few quarters. The government plans to raise a large part of these funds from international markets, as the Treasury is preparing to sell $4 billion in dollar denominated bonds with 5 and 10-year maturities. This is a somewhat risky move, because foreign denominated debt is a huge problem these days, as the local currencies have plunged at a rapid rate.
Asian economies are not the only ones hit hard by the credit crunch. In Europe, The Ukrainian economy is expected to contract nearly 9% in 2009. In the last eight years, the Ukrainian economy has averaged a 7% growth rate.
Tonight, the Nikkei rose 99.09 points (1.33%) to 7,560.31. The Australian S&P gained 20.00 points (0.60%) to 3,347.50.
Crude oil was trading near the highest value in a month. Crude oil for March delivery gained $0.25 to $42.85
Gold declined again, as some say the economy will eventually recover. Bullion for immediate delivery fell $12.40 to $953.80