Weekly Roundup: Asian Stock Markets Gain Amid US Fiscal Cliff Deal Approval

  on January 04 2013 11:32 PM

Asian stock markets rose in the week as investor sentiment was lifted after the U.S. Congress passed a bill intended to avert the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 2.8 percent and closed at 10688.11. South Korea's Kospi Index was up 0.8 percent and closed at 2011.94.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives Tuesday approved the bill for avoiding the fiscal cliff by a vote of 257 to 167. Investors hoped that this deal would prevent the global economy from falling into a recession.

South Korea's consumer price inflation rose at a slower rate than expected in December, indicating that the country’s inflationary pressures were declining to provide room for further monetary easing policy measures required to boost economic growth.

According to the data released Monday by the Korea National Statistical Office, the country’s CPI, which measures the change in the price of goods and services from the perspective of the consumer, rose 1.4 percent in December, down from a 1.6 percent increase in November.

South Korea’s trade surplus fell in December compared to that in the previous month, indicating that the soft global demand continued to weigh on the economic growth of the country. According to the data released Tuesday by the Korea National Statistical Office, the country’s trade surplus, which measures the difference in value between exported and imported goods and services over the reported period, dropped to $2.03 billion in December, from $4.38 billion in November.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 2.9 percent and closed at 23331.09. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 2 percent and closed at 2276.99 points.

China's manufacturing activity expanded in December for the third month in a row, giving the indication that the world’s second-largest economy was reviving its growth momentum. The data released Tuesday by the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing showed that the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) remained unchanged at 50.6 in December from that in the previous month.

According to the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) released Monday, the country’s manufacturing activity expanded to a nineteen-month high in December. The final reading of the PMI, a measure of the nationwide manufacturing activity, rose to 51.5 in December compared to 50.5 in November.

China's non-manufacturing activity rose in December compared to that in the previous month, easing the concerns over a slowdown in the economic growth of the country. According to the data released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, the non-manufacturing PMI rose to 56.1 in December from 55.6 in November.

China's service activity expanded in December, but at a slower pace than in the previous month, according to the HSBC Services PMI released Friday. The Services PMI, a measure of nationwide service activity, was 51.7 in December, down from 52.1 in November but still in positive territory.

India's BSE Sensex rose 1.8 percent in the week and closed at 19784.08.

India's manufacturing activity expanded in December at the fastest rate in six months, according to the HSBC Manufacturing PMI released Wednesday. The reading of the HSBC Manufacturing PMI, a measure of the nationwide manufacturing activity, rose to 54.7 in December compared to 53.7 in November.

India's service activity expanded in December at the fastest pace in the last three months, according to the HSBC Services PMI released Friday. The Services PMI, a measure of the nationwide service activity, was 55.6 in December, up from 52.1 in November, signaling a sharp expansion.

Significantly, the index remained in the expansion zone, a reading above 50. The expansion of the service activity should alleviate the fears about a sharp retardation of the Indian economy.

Major Gainers: Shares of Li & Fung Ltd rose 7.3 percent. Shares of Toyota Motor Corp advanced 6.4 percent and those of Canon Inc climbed 2.4 percent.

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