TOKYO, Sept 7 2017 : Asian shares ticked up today after U.S. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders agreed to raise the government debt limit until December, eliminating the risk of a government shutdown for now.
The euro maintained this week’s slim gains ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy event later in the day while oil prices were supported after U.S. Gulf Coast refineries reopened.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.3 percent while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 rose 0.6 percent.
In New York the previous day, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 7.69 points, or 0.31 percent, led by gains in energy sector on the back of rise in oil prices.
Trump forged a surprising deal with Democrats in Congress to raise the U.S. debt limit and provide government funding until Dec. 15, embracing his political adversaries and blindsiding fellow Republicans in a rare bipartisan accord.
“The deadline on debt ceiling has been extended just by three months so it will come back to haunt markets again later this year. Still, markets liked it as we don’t have to worry about it for now,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.
Still, geopolitical tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile program continued to cast a shadow, particularly in Japan and South Korea.
The news that Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer will resign “for personal reasons” reminded investors of the wobbly state of the U.S. administration after many high-ranking officials have quit less than a year into their jobs.
The recovery in risk appetite helped the dollar bounce back to 109.24 yen JPY= from yesterday’s low of 108.45 yen.
The main focus of the day is the euro EUR=, which stood at $1.1925 ahead of the ECB’s policy meeting, maintaining its uptrend since the start of this year.
ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to lay the groundwork for stimulus reduction, though few investors expect a clear framework just yet.
But some participants are worried that Draghi may warn against the strength of the euro which has risen 13 percent so far this year, the strongest performance among major currencies.
The Canadian dollar CAD=D4 held firm following 1.2 percent gains yesterday after the Bank of Canada unexpectedly raised interest rates.
The Canadian dollar traded at C$1.2230 to the dollar, off yesterday’s high of C$1.2140 per U.S. dollar, which was its highest since June 2015.
U.S. crude futures were $49.12 per barrel, down 0.1 percent from late U.S. levels after having gained 3.0 percent in the previous three sessions.
Brent traded at $54.03 a barrel, down 0.3 percent but still not far from its 3 1/2-month high of $54.31 touched yesterday.
Traders are now shifting their focus to Hurricane Irma, ranked as one of the five most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in the last 80 years, which was passing over the northernmost Virgin Islands on Wednesday afternoon and expected to reach Florida at the weekend. – Reuters