Market Close Feb 17

Yield spike sours risk appetite 

Copper hovers around 8-year highs; Spike in US Treasuries yields douses risk appetite; Hong Kong outperforms on the eve of the return of mainland China investors

Yield spike sours risk appetite 
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Wednesday oil producers must remain 'extremely cautious'. "We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious... don’t try to predict the unpredictable." File photo from April 2020 of an Opec video meeting by Reuters. 

(ATF) Hong Kong: Asian markets were broadly lower as surging commodity and oil prices raised inflationary concerns which lifted US Treasury yields to one-year highs.

As commodity prices boomed, fuelled by a resurgent China, trading giant Glencore joined mining behemoth BHP in declaring a massive dividend payout.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.58%, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 eased 0.46% but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.1% ahead of the return of mainland China investors on Thursday from a week-long holiday break. Regionally, the MSCI Asia Pacific index declined 0.53%.

Benchmark 10-year US Treasury yields rose as far as 1.333% in Asia, the highest since February 2020, although they later eased back to 1.299%.

“Inflation expectations can act as a positive impulse for equities but are nearing levels where they became a headwind or at minimum cause investors to pause for a more in-depth look at all the reflationary headline noise,” Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, said.

But analysts said the spike in yields did not indicate the possibility of central banks raising rates in the near term.

“Interestingly, this increase in rates can largely be attributed to a drop in term premium,” said DBS strategists in a note. ”As clarity emerges for a recovery from a pandemic, there is no longer a need to demand that much premium in UST. Moreover, we reckon that 10Y breakeven of around 2.24% should have already priced in the reflation.”

Among commodities, US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 41 cents, or 0.68%, to $60.46 and Brent crude futures gained 44 cents, or 0.69%, to $63.79 a barrel.

Copper prices hovered around 8 year highs. The red metal hit $8,437 per tonne, its highest since May 2012, having risen 8.8% year to date.

The dollar rose 0.3% to 90.8 versus a basket of currencies and that hurt gold prices with the precious metal easing 0.3% to $1,785 per ounce.

Also on Asia Times Financial

Myanmar coup: Did the generals fear losing their billions? 

Glencore reinstates dividend amid post-pandemic optimism

Japanese oil refiner switches on to electric vehicle project

SPAC deal that values EV firm Lucid Motors at $12 billion is close

Coal and biomass habit threatens India's solar-power revolution

Banker named CEO of Indonesian sovereign wealth fund

Foreign Exchange: Yuan hits 2-1/2 year high on China inflows

Asia Stocks

· Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.58%

· Australia’s S&P ASX 200 eased 0.46% 

· Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.10%

· The MSCI Asia Pacific index declined 0.53%.

Stock of the day

E-commerce retailer JD.com shares rose as much as 7.2% after it announced its plan to spin-off JD Logistics by way of a separate listing of the JD Logistics Shares on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. ”It is currently proposed that the Proposed Spin-off will be effected by way of the Global Offering of the JD Logistics Shares, comprising the Hong Kong Public Offering and the International Offering. Upon completion of the Proposed Spin-off, the Company will continue to indirectly hold more than 50% of the shareholdings in JD Logistics and therefore JD Logistics will remain as a subsidiary of the Company,” the company said.

Asia markets US Treasuries Hang Seng Index Copper China investors Glencore BHP JD.com