Asian stocks sink amid rate woes, China rallies on sovereign fund buying By

© Reuters.– Most Asian stocks fell on Tuesday as markets priced out early U.S. interest rate cuts and awaited cues from several regional central banks, while Chinese markets surged after reports showed that a sovereign fund vowed to conduct more buying. 

Asian markets took a weak lead-in from Wall Street, as strong economic data and hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spurred increasing conviction that the central bank will keep interest rates higher for longer.

Chinese markets surge as sovereign fund vows to buy more ETFs

But Chinese stocks were a key outlier on Tuesday, with the and indexes surging 2% and 0.9%, respectively. The two recovered further from five and four-year lows hit last week.

Gains in mainland stocks saw Hong Kong’s index jump 1.9%.

Buying into Chinese shares was fueled largely by reports that sovereign fund Central Huijin Investment Ltd said it will continue to buy up more exchange-traded funds and support local stock markets. 

Central Huijin’s reported announcement was accompanied by a statement from China’s securities regulator that it will continue to guide local funds to enter the market- signaling more government-backed support for a battered and discounted stock market. 

But whether Tuesday’s moves will spur a sustained recovery in Chinese markets remains to be seen, given that government-backed funds have been consistently trying to stem an extended rout in local stocks. 

The underlying drivers of China’s stock market crash- concerns over slowing economic growth- still remained in play. due later this week is expected to show little improvement in January, especially after a string of underwhelming purchasing managers index readings for the month.

Australia, India rate decisions keep Asian markets on edge

Focus was now on interest rate decisions in Australia and India, due later today and on Thursday, respectively. 

Australia’s fell 0.6% after the Reserve Bank of Australia , and warned that sticky inflation could still spur more rate hikes in the coming months.

While the bank acknowledged recent declines in inflation, it warned that price pressures were still too high, and that future rate decisions will be largely dependent on the path of inflation. The bank also disappointed some traders hoping for any signals on potential interest rate cuts this year.

Australian data for the fourth quarter showed sustained pressure on consumer spending from high interest rates and inflation.

Futures for India’s index pointed to a mildly weaker open, as local stocks grappled with a large degree of profit-taking from record highs. The is also expected to offer little changes to policy when it meets on Thursday, while its outlook on inflation will be closely watched. 

Broader Asian markets retreated amid persistent fears of higher-for-longer interest rates. 

Japan’s index shed 0.7%, with some degree of profit-taking in play after the index surged to 34-year highs in January. 

Losses in technology stocks saw South Korea’s dip 0.5%, while most Southeast Asian markets moved in a flat-to-low range.

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