Hong Kong: The dollar sank to a record low against the Euro on Wednesday after surprisingly weak US economic data, but Asian stocks hit a six-week high on optimism corporate earnings will weather the difficult global economic environment.
Commodities and metals climbed on the back of the weaker greenback, with oil holding near a record peak above $101 a barrel. Gold surged to a record high, driven as well by a search for a hedge against inflation.
European shares also expected to open modestly higher on ahead of a stream of earnings including British mortgage lender HBOS and French construction group Bouygues.
The dollar broke through the key psychological $1.50 level against the Euro for the first time, and hit an all-time low against a basket of currencies, after data on Tuesday showed US consumer sentiment at a five-year low and consumer expectations at their worst in 17 years.
ASIAN STOCKS GAIN
Asian stock markets posted a third consecutive day of gains, after IBM’s $15 billion share buyback announcement on Tuesday raised confidence the corporate sector will weather the difficult global economic environment.
The MSCI’s index of Asian stocks outside Japan surged 2.4% after earlier hitting its highest since 16 January. The index had already climbed 2% over the previous two sessions.
Markets in Australia, Taiwan and China were up nearly 2% each. South Korea rose 0.7% to a five-week high, while Singapore stocks were up over 1%.
Japan’s Nikkei index rose 1.5% to a six-week closing high, on a broad-based rally that included blue chips and financials.
Hong Kong shares were up 3.7% after the region unveiled a budget that included tax concessions and handouts. Asia-focused Standard Chartered surged 8.4% a day after posting 2007 earnings that beat forecasts.