Asia-Pacific markets mostly rise as investors digest Fed’s smaller quarter-point hike

Signs of ‘sequential acceleration’ in Hong Kong despite contraction in economy in 2022: UBP

Hong Kong’s economy is “in a position to return to expansion,” the UBP told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday.

“We are seeing signs that there has been a gradual pick-up in January. So that’s good news,” said Carlos Casanova, UBP’s senior Asia economist.

This comes despite new data from the Hong Kong government showing its economy shrank 4.2% in the fourth quarter, having fallen for four consecutive quarters in 2022. Real GDP also declined by 3.5% year-on-year.

“We believe we will be in a position to return to expansion in 2023, not only because of mainland tourists [are] Returning after reopening, but … we have more supportive equity valuations which is certainly helping with sentiment in Hong Kong,” Casanova said.

-Goh Chee Tong

Bitcoin has climbed nearly 4% to near $24,000

Bitcoin Prices on Coin Metrics are up 3.72% over the past 24-hours as investors continue to brace for a smaller rate hike of 25 basis points by the US Federal Reserve.

The cryptocurrency briefly touched $24,000 and last traded at $23,986.65, its highest level since mid-August 2022.

ether 5.77% and last traded at $1,677.13.

US dollar index fluctuates, hovering around 100

dollar index Refinitiv data showed it fell more than 0.3% to 100.92, the lowest level it has seen since April 2022, when it last dropped below the 101-mark.

The dollar index hit an overnight low of 101.036, its lowest since 4/22/2022 when it traded as low as 100.473.

The index is down 0.74% week-to-date and is on pace for its 4th consecutive negative week for the first time since the 4-week streak ending Jan 14, 2022.

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– Chris Hayes, Gina Francola, Jihye Lee

Australia’s building approvals up 18.5%, exceed expectations

Australia’s total approved building approvals rose 18.5%, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, much higher than the 1% increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

The ABS said in its release that approvals for private sector homes declined by 2.3 per cent, while approvals for private sector buildings excluding houses increased by 56.6 per cent.

The value of non-residential buildings fell 1.7%, while the value of buildings overall rose 3%.

– Jihye Li

South Korea’s consumer price index rose 5.2% in January

South Korea’s consumer price index rose 5.2% on an annual basis in January, data from Statistics Korea showed.

The latest print shows an upward trend from previous readings, after falling from 5.7% in October 2022 to 5.0% in November and remaining unchanged in December.

Prices for living necessities rose 6.1% compared to a year ago, while fresh food items rose 2.4%.

– Jihye Li

Adani Enterprises withdraws follow-on public offering overnight

After Adani Enterprises withdrew its $2.5 billion follow-on public offering overnight, despite the sale being fully subscribed, in what many saw as a vote of confidence, investors piled on shares of the Adani group companies. Will keep a close watch.

The company cited “unprecedented conditions and current market volatility” for the decision, adding that it is working to return the proceeds to investors.

“Given these extraordinary circumstances, the company’s board felt that it would not be ethically correct to proceed with the issue,” founder Gautam Adani said in a statement.

“The interest of the investors is of paramount importance and hence to protect them from any possible financial loss, the board has decided not to go ahead with the FPO,” he added.

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The move comes after Adani shares continued to sell off during Wednesday’s trading session in Mumbai – reflecting subdued investor sentiment after Hindenburg Research announced its short positions in Adani group companies.

Adani Enterprises Shares It lost 28% by the time the market closed on Wednesday. Adani Port and Special Economic Zone dropped 19%, Adani Green Energy While Adani Total Gas fell 5.6% Adani Transmission closed down 2.8%.

– Jihye Li

CNBC Pro: JPMorgan says Hong Kong stocks rebound in February and names 5 stocks

JPMorgan has named five stocks to own amid expected growth in the broader Chinese stock market in February.

Wall Street bank strategists attributed last week’s selloff in Hong Kong-listed shares to profit-taking by some investors.

He said the broader stock market would be “grinding higher” this month, but would veer into “quality in consumption as well as value cyclical and growth space”.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about the 5 stocks named by JP Morgan.

Ganesh Rao

CNBC Pro: Worried about a drop in Alibaba’s share price? Analysts Have 4 Alternative Tech Picks

Shares of Alibaba have enjoyed a strong rebound this year, although a recent decline in its share price has some investors worried.

But the Wall Street favorite is far from the only game in town, with several stocks also offering exposure to the Chinese internet sector.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

Xavier Ong

Federal Reserve hikes 25 basis points but expects ‘ongoing’ hike

The Federal Reserve raised benchmark overnight lending rates by 25 basis points, or 0.25 percentage points, which matched investor expectations. The increase brings the Fed’s target range to 4.5%-4.75%, the highest level since 2007.

In its statement, however, the Fed kept the language that the FOMC still sees the need for “ongoing increases in the target range.” Market participants had expected some softening in the tone, but the consensus statement held firm.

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Jeff Cox

Don’t expect a rate cut in 2023, says Powell

Jerome Powell said he does not expect the Fed to cut rates this year, as some leading strategists project.

“Given our outlook, if our outlook holds true, I don’t see a rate cut this year,” the Fed chair said.

Powell also said he was “not worried” about another cut ahead of the bond market halt, as some market participants are expecting a faster decline in inflation than the Fed.

“If we see inflation coming down more quickly, that will certainly play into our policy setting,” Powell said.

Jesse Pound

Economy still in ‘early stage’ of moderating inflation, says Powell

Powell acknowledged that there were positive signs in recent employment reports, while labor data remained strong, but said it was too early to celebrate.

Powell said, “It’s a good thing that the deflation we’ve seen so far hasn’t come at the expense of the labor market,” but added that the economy was still in the “early stages” of reducing inflation.

He said data showing a drop in commodity prices and a recent softening of the rental housing market was a “good story”.

However, he added that the Fed “doesn’t yet see deflation” in the core services portion of inflation, excluding housing.

-Jesse Pound

Gold hits intraday high not seen since April

Sleep At a high not seen since April.

The metal was trading at a high of $1,956.60 during Wednesday’s trade. This is the highest level since April 22, 2022, when gold had peaked at $1,957.80.

– Alex Haring, Gina Francola


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