Hong Kong: Asian stocks rode the rally in the technology sector triggered by bellwether Intel Corp.’s strong earnings and regional currencies rose after Singapore’s aggressive monetary tightening triggered speculation it heralded a yuan revaluation.
The tech-heavy markets in South Korea and Taiwan got a leg-up after the world’s top chip maker Intel unveiled sales and margin forecasts that trounced Wall Street expectations.
The dollar eased broadly after Singapore revalued its currency and as Intel’s results boosted appetite for riskier currencies.
Commodity currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollars gained against the US unit, while the low-yielding yen softened.
Singapore’s central bank re-centred its trade-weighted band to the prevailing exchange rate level, which was in the upper half of the previous band.
The MSCI index of Asian shares outside Japan was up about 1.3% with the technology index being the biggest gainer. Singapore shares jumped 1.6%.
Markets took the Singapore move as a signal of the central bank’s confidence in the economic outlook, as it also shifted policy to modest and gradual currency appreciation.
Given the close links markets in Singapore have in relation to China, the Chinese central bank could take a cue from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and move the currency to address rising prices as well, HSBC currency strategist Perry Kojodjojo said.
Japan’s Nikkei average rose 0.4%, inching away from two-week lows hit the day before, with chip-linked exporters boosted after Intel’s results.
Shanghai stocks edged up 0.2% to its highest close in three months for a second straight session. Hong Kong shares closed up 0.1%.
Gold prices rose as a fresh push higher in the euro added to positive sentiment in the market, with technical indicators pointing to the prospect of further price gains.
Gold’s rise to four-month highs at the beginning of the week on the back of the euro’s recovery versus the dollar has shored up the technical picture for gold, analysts said.