Asian shares extended gains on Wednesday following Wall Street’s record close. The Industrial average index, Dow Jones, ended at an all-time high as the pan-European Euro first 300 index closed at its highest level in 4-and-a-half year. The MSCI-index for Asia-Pacific added 0,9% while the Japanese Nikkei surged 1,3%. Copper, crude oil and commodity related currencies are all up. The USD DXY-index eased 0,2% against a basket of currencies.
The markets were spurred by fast February growth in the huge US services sector and bolstered by China’s announcement of record government spending in 2013. These factors boosted investors’ sentiment and hopes of economic growth and increased demand for gods. EURO, British sterling, GBP, and JPY which have been the big losers over the last weeks, have consolidated and gained some ground. Euro/USD trades at 1.3065. USD/JPY is at 93.22.
The strong rally in the stock markets is partially a product of the monetary easing policies conducted by the US Federal Reserve since last summer and followed intentionally and in practice by several other Western central banks. There have been a lot a spare capital on the side lines waiting to strike. Over the last weeks and months we have witnessed a recirculation of capital into the more risk prone equity market. The new records are a result of this recirculation. Major investors are gambling on a turnaround in the global economy and pushed their free cash into stocks in spite of the problems in the Eurozone and an overheated Chinese property market.
Oil prices are also up this morning. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez lost his two years long fight with cancer and passed away this morning 58 years old. Venezuela is one of the biggest oil producing countries in the world, and Chavez has led a policy where a substantial part of the country’s oil riches have been transferred to the poor and have-nots. Chavez has also been a guarantor for domestic political stability and encouraged other Latin American countries to follow his suit. It remains to be seen whether the power vacuum created by his death is filled in such a way that political unrest and renewed pressure on oil prices are avoided.
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