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Asian markets hit as US jobs data dent hopes for big rate cut

WT24 Desk

HONG KONG – Asian markets retreated Monday and the dollar held gains after a blockbuster US jobs report dashed hopes that the Federal Reserve would slash interest rates this month, AFP reports.

Labor Department data showed that despite recent disappointing indicators, the world’s top economy continues to show resilience as it created far more posts than expected in June.

The news took traders by surprise and sent all three main indexes on Wall
Street falling from record highs, while the dollar bounced against its main
peers.

Investors had been hoping the Fed would cut borrowing costs by as much as 50 basis points at its next policy meeting at the end of the month but
Friday’s report reduced the chances of that happening.

And Asian investors extended the selling, with Hong Kong down 1.8 percent, Shanghai 2.4 percent lower and Tokyo off 0.9 percent.

Sydney shed one percent, Seoul dropped 1.7 percent and Singapore was off
0.9 percent. Manila, Wellington, Taipei and Jakarta were also lower.

“Markets remain convinced the Fed will cut rates at the end of the month,”
said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya.

“But the strong labour market has many questioning whether we will see
just two rate cuts in 2019 and not what some call the required three to see
US stocks make another 3-5 percent push higher into uncharted territory.”

– Lira tumbles –

He added that the focus will now turn on Fed boss Jerome Powell’s
congressional testimony this week, with investors hoping he will provide some forward guidance on the bank’s plans.

“The testimony this week will be crucial around how they are seeing the
evolution of the US economy,” Anne Anderson, at UBS Asset Management, told Bloomberg TV.

Also up this week is the release of minutes from the Fed’s June meeting,
while US and Chinese officials are working to schedule top-level trade talks.

On currency markets the dollar maintained Friday’s gains against the
yen, pound and euro.

And it surged more than three percent on the Turkish lira after President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacked the head of the country’s central bank following months of tensions over high borrowing costs.

Erdogan, who is battling to boost the struggling economy, has repeatedly
railed against high interest rates and called for them to be lowered to
stimulate growth.

The removal of Murat Cetinkaya at the weekend fuelled speculation the bank will slash borrowing costs.

Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman &
Co, wrote in a note: “Deputy governor Murat Uysal was named as the
replacement, though we all know who really controls monetary policy now.”

– Key figures around 0230 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.9 percent at 21,548.36 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.8 percent at 28,271.86

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 2.4 percent at 2,939.39

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1225 from $1.1227 at 2030 GMT Friday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.47 yen from 108.50 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2523 from $1.2525

West Texas Intermediate: UP 12 cents at $57.63 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP six cents at $64.29 per barrel

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 26,922.12 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.7 percent at 7,553.14 (close)

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