Australia stocks jump 3%; investors await China’s loan prime rate release

Stocks in Asia Pacific rose in morning trade as investors await the release of China’s benchmark lending rate, expected later on Friday.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 3.02% as almost all the sectors advanced, with the heavily weighted financial subindex up more than 5%.

South Korean stocks, which saw heavy losses on Thursday, also saw gains on Friday morning as the Kospi advanced 1.58%. Earlier in the session, the index had jumped more than 3%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.69% higher.

Markets in Japan are closed on Friday for a holiday.

The monthly fixing of China’s Loan Prime Rate (LPR) is expected to be out around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Friday. Reuters reported Thursday, citing a survey of traders and analysts, that the benchmark lending rate is expected to be cut.

Meanwhile, developments on the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak will continue to be watched, with markets seeing wild moves in recent days as investors continue to weigh the disease’s potential economic impact.

“Uncertainty and volatility are becoming the norm in financial markets amid the coronavirus crisis,” Kim Mundy, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note. “Central banks are continuing to throw everything they have at limiting the disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Central banks from across the globe, ranging from Australia’s Reserve Bank of Australia to the U.S. Federal Reserve, have cut interest rates in recent days as authorities worldwide race to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 188.27 points to close at 20,087.19 while the S&P 500 ended its trading day 0.5% higher at 2,409.39. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed with a 2.3% surge to close at 7,150.58. 

Oil prices also rebounded strongly on Thursday, with U.S. oil seeing its best day on record. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 23.8% to settle at $25.22 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude futures also gained 14.4% to $28.47 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 102.842 after it rose from levels below 102 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.22 per dollar after seeing levels below 108 earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.5787 after seeing highs above $0.58 yesterday.

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