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Asian stock markets advance after another Wall Street rally

HONG KONG—Most Asian markets rose again Thursday, tracking another rally on Wall Street and following a Chinese pledge to support the world’s number two economy.

The healthy gains to kick off November come as dealers look to put behind them one of the worst months in recent years, which saw billions wiped from valuations and confidence battered.

While markets still face myriad problems, including rising US interest rates, the China-US trade war and uncertainty in the European Union, equities in Asia are enjoying a much-needed bounce.

Beijing provided the boost to Thursday’s business, with the leadership saying it will introduce new measures to kickstart the stuttering economy following a string of weak data, including growth at its slowest pace in nine years during the third quarter.

The yuan is also down at a 10-year low and approaching 7 to the dollar as uncertainty about China’s economy leads investors to take their cash out of the country.

Shanghai rose 0.1 percent, building on a more two percent rise since Tuesday, while Hong Kong climbed 1.7 percent in the afternoon while Singapore was up 1.2 percent.

Sydney added 0.2 percent by the end with Wellington 1.1 percent higher and Taipei climbing 0.4 percent.

However, Tokyo sank 1.1 percent on a stronger yen and profit-taking following a more than two percent surge Wednesday. Seoul gave up early gains to end 0.3 percent off.

The broad advance came after all three main indexes on Wall Street chalked up a second day of solid gains.

The Politburo, after a meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping, said Wednesday that China had “achieved overall economic stability with steady progress” in the first three quarters but more work needed to be done to help the private sector.

“The leadership is paying great attention to the problems, and will be more pre-emptive and take action in a timely manner,” it said.

“China should attach great importance to the current situation and be more proactive in taking measures to cope with the issues.”

The statement comes almost two weeks after the country’s top brass, including Xi, embarked on a full-throated drive to shore up confidence in the country’s stock markets and economy.

“Accepting slower growth has long been a challenge for Beijing, but now the rate of slowdown is firmly out of the comfort zone,” Katrina Ell, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in Sydney, said.

“In recent years the balancing act has been addressing risks in the financial system against pressure to stabilize economic growth. It appears the latter is again more of a priority.”

Iris Pang, Greater China economist at ING, suggested any stimulus would likely be bigger than the measures introduced during the financial crisis a decade ago.

On foreign exchanges the more optimistic tone helped high-yielding and emerging market currencies edge up.

The pound edged up after Wednesday’s small gains, which came on the back of hopes for a breakthrough in Brexit talks with Britain’s Dominic Raab saying there could be an agreement by November 21.

Topics: Asian stock markets , Wall Street , China-US trade war
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