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Asia: Markets rebound, Glencore surges after crash


[HONG KONG] Asian stocks recovered slightly Wednesday from a mass sell-off in the previous session, with emerging currencies ending a tough quarter on a high but analysts warned of further volatility ahead.

Mining giant Glencore almost halved Tuesday's 30 per cent losses after it moved to reassure investors its business remained robust, following rumours in financial circles it might soon be delisted as it is buffeted by weak commodity prices and China's slowdown.

The next focus point is on a speech due to be given by Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen later in the day, with hopes she will shed more light on the bank's plans for raising US interest rates.

Regional equities and risk assets went into a sharp reverse Tuesday, tracking a slump in New York and Europe after another batch of disappointing Chinese data fanned fresh fears about the world's number two economy.

But buying picked up on Wednesday, the last day of a torrid quarter that has seen trillions wiped off global valuations, sparked by Beijing's shock devaluation of its yuan currency last month. Traders were given a mostly positive lead from Wall Street, while the Dow and S&P 500 edged up.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Glencore, which has been hammered by soft resources demand in China that led brokerage Investec to question its future if prices did not improve, were the stand-out winner as it rallied after Tuesday's crash.

The firm rose 15 per cent in early trade after the debt-laden Swiss company insisted its business was "operationally and financially robust".

"We have positive cash flow, good liquidity and absolutely no solvency issues," it said in a statement.

The firm's London-listed stock ended up 16.95 per cent on Tuesday, recovering a good part of the 29-per cent loss it suffered the previous day.

In Asian trade Wednesday Tokyo rose 1.87 per cent by the break, Hong Kong added 0.80 per cent, Sydney was 0.98 per cent higher and Shanghai put on 0.72 per cent. Seoul, which was closed on Monday and Tuesday for a public holiday, eased 0.62 per cent.


However, Raiko Shareef, a markets strategist in Wellington at Bank of New Zealand, told warned clients "the stabilisation in risk sentiment looks relatively tentative to us. We'd be wary of another deterioration in Asia today as funding costs spike in China ahead of a week-long holiday."

Chinese markets are closed from Thursday for the National Day holiday week.

With some confidence returning to trading floors safe-haven assets retreated, with the dollar slipping against the South Korean won, Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah, Thai baht and Australian dollar.

However, the greenback has surged against all currencies on expectations the Fed will lift borrowing costs by 2016, which has seen dealers withdraw cash back to the United States in search of better, safer returns in emerging markets.

"It's hard to see how any Asian currency will post sustained, substantial gains in the fourth quarter, with losses versus the US dollar likely to be the norm," said Sean Callow, a senior currency strategist in Sydney at Westpac Banking Corp.

"We expect volatility to remain elevated as Asian policy makers struggle with regional deceleration in growth, and yet more weeks and months of debate over the Fed policy outlook."

The chances of a rise were enhanced Tuesday by data showing US consumer confidence grew in September, confounding forecasts for a fall and following August's strong rebound as the economic recovery picks up.

Eyes are now on Ms Yellen's speech on Wednesday at a community banking conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, with dealers hoping to find clues on the direction of US monetary policy.

And on Friday the Labour Department releases its employment data for September, which will provide a clearer idea of the strength of the US economy and an idea of when the Fed might lift rates.