Asian stocks climbed after better-than-estimated data on U.S. jobs and Chinese exports. Thailand’s baht reversed losses as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament, while Indian equity-index futures and rubber gained.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7 percent by 11:48 a.m. in Tokyo, rebounding from the biggest weekly drop since August. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) futures added 0.1 percent after the gauge snapped a five-day slump Dec. 6, while India’s SGX CNX Nifty Index futures surged 3 percent. The baht gained to its strongest level versus the dollar in more than a week, while rubber futures jumped 1.8 percent.
U.S. employers added more workers to nonfarm payrolls than economists had expected last month, spurring confidence that the world’s largest economy can withstand a reduction in Federal Reserve stimulus. Thai premier Yingluck today called for fresh elections as anti-government protesters began converging on Government House in Bangkok to push for her ouster. India’s main opposition party is gaining momentum ahead of a 2014 national election, winning four local polls held over the past month.
“A solid payroll report boosted confidence that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand tapering,” Shane Oliver, who helps oversee $131 billion as head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Sydney, said by e-mail. “Market valuations are reasonable, monetary conditions are set to remain very easy and profits will improve next year.”
U.S. employers added 203,000 workers to nonfarm payrolls last month, more than the 185,000 increase predicted in a Bloomberg survey. The jobless rate dropped to a five-year low of 7 percent.
The Federal Open Market Committee will probably start cutting its $85 billion in monthly asset purchases at its Dec. 17-18 meeting, according to 34 percent of economists in a Bloomberg survey conducted Dec. 6, up from 17 percent in a Nov. 8 poll.
China today reported inflation slowed more than estimated last month, after data yesterday showed export growth helped swell the nation’s trade surplus to $33.8 billion, the widest since January 2009. Outbound shipments rose 12.7 percent from a year earlier, topping projections from 41 of 42 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.
“China’s exports points to a recovery in the world economy,”Mark Matthews, the Singapore-based head of Asia research for Julius Baer, which oversees about $377 billion in client assets, said on Bloomberg Television.
The yuan advanced to the strongest level in 20 years after the People’s Bank of China raised the currency’s reference rate by 0.17 percent to 6.1130 per dollar, the strongest since a peg to the greenback ended in July 2005.
The country’s consumer-price index rose 3 percent from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today in Beijing. That compares with the 3.1 percent median estimate of 43 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News and a 3.2 percent increase in October.
Chinese stocks trading in Hong Kong rose 0.5 percent, while the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 0.3 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) slid 1 percent as QBE Insurance Group Ltd., the nation’s largest insurer by market value, sank as much as 21 percent after forecasting an unexpected loss due to writedowns at its North American operations.
The Thai baht increased 0.1 percent, rebounding after the longest streak of weekly losses since June. Demonstrators want Thailand’s democratic system replaced by an unelected council, and earlier said the protests wouldn’t end even if Yingluck stepped down or dissolved parliament.
Rubber in Tokyo jumped to the highest level in more than two months after China’s imports surged to a record last month.
Futures for delivery in May on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange advanced as much as 2.4 percent to 282.3 yen a kilogram ($2,739 a metric ton), the highest level since Sept. 24.
Imports rose to 270,000 tons, 42 percent higher from October, data from the General Administration of Customs in Beijing showed Dec. 8.