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Asia: Markets dip as Trump rally takes a break

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[HONG KONG] The rally in Asian markets petered out on Thursday, while the dollar also dipped as investors brushed off another record Wall Street close and upbeat US data to cash in profits.

Another positive assessment of the US economy and reassurance over tax reform from President Donald Trump was not enough to spur further buying in Asia after the past week's rally.

New York's three main indexes pressed on with their surge, racking up a fifth successive day of record closes, after figures showed US inflation hit a four-year high in January, fuelling bets on an interest rate hike soon.

Also, Mr Trump said on Wednesday he would release specifics on his new tax plan in the "not-too-distant future", adding it will be "good and simpler".

His remarks came less than a week after he promised "phenomenal" reforms to the tax system, spurring a surge in global markets and the dollar.

"The strong numbers highlight that the US economy is in fairly healthy shape," Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader, said in a note.

"The key is the data and president Trump's recommitment to the release of the tax plan everyone is waiting for," Mr McKenna said.

Federal Reserve Yellen also reiterated her view to Congress that the world's top economy was on a strong growth track, a day after indicating borrowing costs to increase any time soon - leading to speculation of a move as soon as March.

However, the greenback was unable to push on with its gains and in early Asian trade was down against its major peers as well as higher-yielding currencies in the Asia-Pacific such as the Australian dollar and South Korea's won.

Regional stock markets were also in the red. Tokyo ended the morning 0.6 per cent lower while Shanghai and Hong Kong were each down 0.1 per cent and Sydney and Seoul both gave up 0.2 per cent.

Wellington lost one per cent and Taipei eased 0.2 per cent.


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