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Asian stock markets broadly higher on IMF outlook


The IMF said that the Asian economy is expected to expand 7.6 percent in 2021, up from its previous outlook for an expansion of 6.9 percent

Asian stock markets are broadly higher on Wednesday, following largely positive cues overnight from Wall Street and the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) rosy view on Asia’s economic outlook. Markets in the region remain cautious amid the surge in Covid cases in the region and the possible restrictions on economic activity in several markets. Asian markets finished higher on Tuesday.

The IMF said Tuesday that the Asian economy is expected to expand 7.6 percent in 2021, up from its previous outlook in October last year for an expansion of 6.9 percent. IMF expects Asia’s economy to grow 5.4 percent in 2022.

In the U.S., U.S. Food and Drug Administratin on Tuesday announced a temporarily halt on the usage of Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Covid-19 vaccine after six recipients developed a rare blood clotting disorder.

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, after ending the previous session flat, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 hovering around the 7,000 mark at near 13-week highs, following strong gains in gold and technology stocks, partially offset by losses in materials, energy and financial stocks. Data released also showed consumer index in Australia surging to an 11-month high in April.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 21.70 points or 0.31 percent to 6,998.60, after reaching a new 13-week high of 7,022.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is higher by 24.60 points or 0.34 percent to 7,255.60. Australian stocks finished on a flat note on Tuesday.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.766 on Wednesday.

The Japanese stock market is lower in choppy trading on Wednesday, reversing the gains of the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei index above the 29,600 level, as traders are cautious amid the continued surge in coronavirus infections, with daily cases in Osaka breaching the 1,000 mark.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index finished the morning session at 29,649.85, down 101.76 points or 0.34 percent, after reaching a low of 29,567.18 earlier in choppy trading. Japanese stocks ended higher on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is up 1.3 percent and Indonesia is advancing 0.8 percent, while New Zealand, South Korea and China are all higher by between 0.1 and 0.4 percent each. Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore are bucking the trend and are lower.

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