Asian markets mostly gained in early trading Friday as U.S. Federal Reserve officials prepare to meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak Friday morning to kick off the annual conference, and investors will be looking for the central bank’s thoughts about the chances of recession following an inversion of the yield curve last week. But as MarketWatch has reported, economists believe the Fed is likely to keep its policy thoughts to itself.
Meanwhile, tensions between Japan and South Korea rose, as an intelligence-sharing deal became the latest casualty of a bitter trade dispute. South Korea said Thursday it would stop sharing intelligence about North Korea with its Asian neighbor. Last month, Japan revoked South Korea’s preferential trade status. South Korea accuses Japan of weaponizing trade to punish it over a separate dispute linked to Japan’s brutal colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
rose 0.2% while South Korea’s Kospi
inched up 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
gained 0.6% and the Shanghai Composite
advanced 0.5%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan
were down slightly. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
Among individual stocks, convenience-store chain FamilyMart
rose in Tokyo trading, as did Nippon Steel
, while Japan Post
fell amid a continuing investigation into its sales practices. In Hong Kong, insurers AIA Group
and China Life Insurance
gained, while property stocks such as Country Garden
fell. SK Hynix
advanced in South Korea, and Foxconn
gained in Taiwan. In Australia, Wesfarmers
and Fortescue Metals
China’s onshore yuan last traded at 7.0909, its weakest level since 2008. The People’s Bank of China may be “sending a message” to U.S. trade hawks that it “will let the yuan gradually weaken as a policy weapon to neutralize the effect of increased tariffs,” Stephen Innes, managing partner of Valour Markets, said in a note.
“While the markets are currently sitting in a state of currency-war detente, with the PBoC possibly putting one of their trade wars cards on the table, it’s not the cheeriest of signals for risk assets in my views,” he said.