Japan’s Nikkei 225 hit an eight month high in Asian trading as a weakened Yen boosts exporters. The Japanese yen had earlier hit an 11 month low against the US Dollar and is at a level which prompted an intervention by the Bank of Japan. The Japanese currency reached 84.18 yen against the greenback before pulling back 83.75 before European markets opened. The weakened Yen pushed Asian stocks higher with the Nikkei 225 gaining 0.72% at time of writing, trading at 10123.28. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.15% as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao declared yesterday that China must accept slower economic development as well as braver political reform to prevent the Chinese economy from wavering.
The British Pound suffered in Asian Markets, falling 0.11% in the GBP/USD pairing, trading at 1.5657. Fitch, the credit ratings agency joined Moody’s to put the UK’s top AAA rating on “negative outlook”. The credit rating determines a country’s theoretical ability to borrow money and its borrowing costs with a negative outlook implying a slightly greater than 50% chance of a downgrade over the next two years. Despite reducing its budget deficit, the UK unemployment figures rose again for the last quarter, reaching a 17 year high for the amount of joblessness. Encouragingly enough though, the rate is rising at its slowest speed for almost a year as UK unemployment increased by 28,000 to 2.67 million in the last three months to January, with the unemployment rate now standing at 8.4%.
Today investor focus should be on the US as government data on producer price inflation is released, as well as official data on unemployment claims.
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