Asian shares climb in morning trade on China

Asian Shares surged Friday morning in Asia after China reported economic data that, while bleak, was better than expected.

The strong open followed an overnight rally on Wall Street powered by buying of Amazon, health care stocks and other market niches that are thriving in the coronavirus crunch.

China reported its economy contracted 6.8% in January-March as the country battled the coronavirus. That is the worst performance since at least the late 1970s.

It’s also not as bad as the double-digit declines some analysts had forecast, though the latest numbers suggest the recovery will be a slow one.

Asian Shares

  • Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 2.6% to 19,788.35.
  • The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 2.5% to 24,598.37.
  • The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.9% to 2,846.27.
  • Australia’s S&P ASX 200 rose 2.4% to 5,547.80.
  • South Korea’s Kospi surged 3.5% to 1,921.71 despite the release of data showing the country lost 195,000 jobs in March from a year earlier, ending a decade-long run in payroll gains.

Currency Markets

  • The dollar fell against the yen.
  • The euro, and sterling as hope for future economic growth reduced safe-haven demand for the greenback.

Commodities

  • Spot gold fell 1.48% to $1,692.10 per ounce in another sign that investors felt more comfortable taking on risk.
  • U.S. crude futures (CLc1) fell to an 18-year low after OPEC’s lowering of its global demand forecast.
  • Brent crude (LCOc1) rose 2.66% to $28.56 a barrel.

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