Asian trade: Asian markets rose, helped by the declines seen in the yen’s value during the second half of the day. At the same time, U.S. future markets advanced, having the S&P gain a little more than 4 points.
Asian equity markets found strength to reverse yesterday’s declines, helped by the falling yen that should theoretically aide the whole exporting industry. Until now, almost every company that takes most of its profits from the export activity rose in the Japanese Nikkei. In particular, the biggest gainer in the Nikkei was IHI Corp, a company specialized in making heavy machines. The company’s share rose 10%, to three months high, as it managed to reduce its 2008 lost helped by a weaker yen in the last few months.
Additionally, Asian investors managed to overcome the rather pessimistic reports released this evening. The unemployment rate in Japan rose to 4.4% in February, up from 4.1% just one month before. The ratio between the number of jobs available and the number of applicants fell 0.08 points to 0.59, the biggest drop in more than 3 decade. Currently, forecasts are that the unemployment rate will reach 5.5% by the end of 2009.
At the same time, a different report showed that household spending dropped 3.5% in Japan, continuing the trend started more than a decade back. On a macroeconomic level, household spending is seen as one of the weakest points of the Japanese economy.
In Australia, the central bank abandoned its growth forecast for 2009, saying “There are limits on how much we can insulate ourselves”. Australia was the only major economy that still had a growth forecast for 2009, as it seems that its financial system still looks healthy in comparison to the U.S. or European. However, the country’s dependence to its commodity exports draggin the growth forecast lower.
Tonight, the Nikkei rose 91.87 points (1.13%) to 8,328.95. The Australian S&P/Asx shed 19.80 points (0.55%) to 3,584.60.
Crude oil advanced in the Asian session, retracing some of the declines seen yesterday. Crude oil for April delivery rose $0.30 to $48.70
Gold rose, helped by the negative equity markets. Bullion for immediate delivery gained $0.60 to $917.30.