Markets extend global rally after ‘Goldilocks’ US jobs data

Oil prices rallied after Saudi Arabia announced a surprise output cut of one million barrels a day.

Asian equities on Monday built on a global rally after a mixed US jobs report lifted hopes the Federal Reserve will hold off hiking interest rates this month. The figures combined with news that Washington had finally passed a debt ceiling deal to avert a catastrophic default, while a report that China is looking at fresh support for its property sector also boosted sentiment.

Meanwhile, oil prices extended a rally after Saudi Arabia announced a surprise output cut citing the need to stabilise the market. Wall Street surged Friday after data showed the US economy added 339,000 jobs last month, far more than expected, indicating the labour market remained strong despite more than a year of Fed rate increases.

Analysts said the “Goldilocks” reading — neither too good nor too bad — suggested the economy was not facing an immediate risk of a recession and could still give the Fed room to hold policy steady.

Asian traders welcomed the news, with Hong Kong extending Friday’s four percent surge, while Tokyo piled on more than one percent along with Sydney and Singapore.

Shanghai was helped by a Bloomberg News report that China was looking at measures to help its beleaguered property sector, which accounts for a huge portion of its economy.

Seoul, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta also rose.

Saudi output cut

The latest advances across equities have come as investors bet the Fed will not tighten monetary policy at its meeting next week, though expectations are it will do so in July.

The central bank has lifted rates 10 times since early last year.

“A combination of a US debt ceiling resolution alongside a mixed US jobs report, still favouring a June Fed pause, and news that China may be considering further support to its beleaguered property sector boosted risk sentiment,” said National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril.

The renewed confidence also saw the so-called VIX “fear gauge” drop below 15 points to pre-Covid levels. Mark Hackett, at Nationwide, said: “Investors have spent much of the past three years obsessed by the Fed, inflation, and payrolls, though volatility around those reports has settled, reflecting a less emotional market.

This is bullish, as less reactivity is a sign of a healthy market. However, there is a worry that with the borrowing limit standoff out of the way, the Treasury will launch a sale of around $1 trillion of debt to restock its coffers, sucking up cash from banks and sapping liquidity.

Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told reporters after an hours-long meeting of OPEC and other key producers that he “will do whatever is necessary to bring stability to this market”.

The crude market has come under pressure in recent months on concerns that a year of rate hikes by central banks would spark recessions and hit demand, while China’s post-zero-Covid rally has run out of steam.

SPI Asset Management’s Stephen Innes said the “moderately bullish meeting… partly offsets some bearish downside risks to most price forecasts, including supply beats in Russia, Iran, and Venezuela and downside risks to China demand”.

Key figures around 0230 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.7 percent at 32,045.83 (break)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 0.3 percent at 19,003.67
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,232.40
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0701 from $1.0709 on Friday
Dollar/yen: UP at 140.22 yen from 139.97 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2431 from $1.2448
Euro/pound: UP at 86.07 pence from 86.01 pence
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.0 percent at $72.46 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.0 percent at $76.85 per barrel
New York – Dow: UP 2.1 percent at 33,762.76 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 1.6 percent at 7,607.28 (close)

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