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Asia: China stocks surge on reopen but Asian rally fades

Chinese shares surged on Thursday as dealers returned from a week-long break that saw a global advance, but a regional rally faded as investors took their cash off the table.

[HONG KONG] Chinese shares surged on Thursday as dealers returned from a week-long break that saw a global advance, but a regional rally faded as investors took their cash off the table.

Speculation the US Federal Reserve will hold off on an interest rate rise until next year put further downward pressure on the dollar however, while oil prices edged up again.

Shanghai's composite index was the stand-out performer in early transactions, having been closed when a below-forecast US jobs report dented the Fed's plans to hike interest rates, while Beijing unveiled targeted stimulus measures.

Hopes the US central bank will keep borrowing costs at record lows for a little longer has given a boost to markets that had been pressured by fears about narrower investment opportunities.

Market voices on:

"During the National Day holiday, regional markets including Hong Kong, and the United States have all gone up, which had a major positive impact," Zhang Qi, an analyst from Haitong Securities, told AFP.

This month has seen a broadly strong advance across global markets after they suffered one of their worst quarters in years, battered by the US rate fears as well as concerns over China's struggling economy.

Shanghai gained more than three percent in the first half hour, with investors cheered by the release last Thursday - the first day of the market holiday - of a report showing factory activity in China had improved slightly in September.

Over the past week the government has also unveiled a series of small measures to try to bring an end to the country's economic malaise. Among them were a passenger-vehicle purchase tax and a lowering of property down-payments for the first time in five years.

"Investors seem to be expecting more policy stimulus to come through this quarter," said Ronald Wan, chief executive at Partners Capital International in Hong Kong.

But he warned: "There's some turnaround in sentiment but investors' confidence will fade easily if the economy doesn't recover as expected and increases the market's volatility." While Shanghai advanced, other regional markets' rallies ran out of steam. Tokyo eased 0.50 per cent, Hong Kong lost 0.75 per cent and Seoul dipped 0.10 per cent. Sydney was up 0.38 per cent.

In foreign exchange trade the dollar edged down against the Indonesian rupiah, Indian rupee and Philippine peso, while the yen and euro also advanced against the greenback Oil prices renewed a recent rally having been hit on Wednesday by a report showing US stockpiles and production rising.

US crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate added 0.82 per cent while Brent North Sea crude gained 0.72 per cent.

The contracts had surged at the start of the week as the weaker dollar made prices lower for users of foreign currencies, while hopes for easing output levels tempered worries about a global supply glut. Ongoing crises in the crude-rich Middle East also provided support.

But on Wednesday the US Department of Energy said output unexpectedly rose in the week to October 2, having fallen in the previous week. At the same time, inventories jumped more than forecast.



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