Equity-index futures signaled gains across Asia after Federal Reserve meeting minutes reaffirmed policy makers’ faith in the world’s biggest economy and stressed the pace of any rate increases will be gradual. The yen held near a three-month low against the dollar.
Contracts on stock gauges from Sydney to Seoul and Tokyo advanced, following the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s biggest jump in almost a month. Japan’s currency was at 123.62 per dollar, down 2 percent this month, before a decision from the nation’s central bank, with economists expecting no change to policy settings. Fed officials inserted language into their October statement to stress that “it may well become appropriate” to raise borrowing costs in December and largely agreed that the pace of increases would be gradual, minutes of their meeting showed.
Asian stocks and currencies have slipped this year amid investor concern about whether the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand what would be the first rate increase since 2006, and the impact such a move would have on the global growth outlook. Economic reports since the Fed refrained from a rate rise in October have been encouraging, with payrolls logging the biggest gain this year and unemployment falling to 5 percent. There’s a 66 percent probability that policy makers will move in December, according to futures data compiled by Bloomberg.
Futures on South Korea’s Kospi 200 Index climbed 0.6 percent in most recent trading, as contracts on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Hang Seng China Enterprises indexes advanced at least 0.4 percent. Those on the FTSE China A50 Index were up 0.6 percent.
New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index, the first stock gauge to start trading each day in the Asia-Pacific region, added 0.1 percent.
Japanese index futures signaled more gains for the nation’s equities, with contracts on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average gaining 0.7 percent in Osaka.
Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who unleashed unprecedented monetary stimulus at the Bank of Japan in 2013 and doubled down on it last year, is done expanding his efforts, according to an increasing number of economists. Forty-six percent of respondents in a Nov. 13-17 Bloomberg poll didn’t expect the BOJ to boost its current pace of asset purchases — up from 33 percent last month. All 41 economists predicted no change at the BOJ’s policy meeting ending on Thursday.