GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares set to finish 2020 at record high, riskier currencies in favor

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares set to finish 2020 at record high, riskier currencies in favor

Reuters  | Dec 31, 2020 11:20

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares set to finish 2020 at record high, riskier currencies in favor

By Alun John and Koh Gui Qing
HONG KONG/NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Asian shares edged up
on Thursday and were set to end a tumultuous 2020 at record
highs, while growing investor hopes for a global economic
recovery caused the dollar to fall further against most major
MSCI's gauge of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan
.MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.1% to its latest peak, having explored
fresh territory repeatedly late in the year. But year-end
trading was typically thin.
The index is set for a fourth-quarter gain of over 19%,
which would be its strongest three-month performance since 2009,
and a yearly rise just shy of 20%, which would be its highest
since 2017.
"A lot of the rise in the second part of the quarter is
because the political risk evaporated," said Kerry Craig, Global
Market Strategist, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, citing the U.S.
election, hopes for an easing in U.S. China trade tensions and
the Brexit deal.
Looking to 2021, Craig said investors were trying to balance
the potential for rising inflation against a likely economic
recovery, and assess whether that rebound might be impeded early
in the year by new strains of COVID-19 and struggles with
rolling out vaccines.
Chinese blue chips .CSI300 rose 1.45% on Thursday after
official data showed that activity in China's service and
factory sector expanded in December, albeit both at a slower
pace than the previous month. The Hong Kong benchmark .HSI
also rose 0.26%.
Australian shares .AXJO fell 0.80% after tighter
restrictions on movement were announced in an effort to quash
fresh COVID-19 cases.
Markets in Japan and South Korea are on holiday.
E-Mini S&P futures ESc1 rose 0.10%.
The upbeat mood, reflected in overnight gains on Wall
Street, drubbed the "safe-haven" dollar and supported almost all
other major currencies.
The dollar dropped against a basket of currencies, sinking
0.074% to 89.528 =USD , after earlier touching it lowest since
April 2018.
Oil prices bucked the trend, however, retreating a shade as
swelling year-over-year supply led some traders to view any
economic recovery ahead to be gradual rather than swift.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 shed 0.23% to
trade at $48.29 a barrel, far below about $62 at the start of
2020, and Brent LCOc1 was trading down 25 cents, or 0.5%, at
$51.38. O/R
Global crude oil markets have lost about a fifth of their
value in 2020 as strict coronavirus lockdowns paralysed economic
activity and travel, but prices have rebounded strongly from
their lows as governments rolled out stimulus.
Gold XAU= dropped 0.14% to $1,89.62 an ounce. The precious
metal has risen over 24% this year, its best year since 2010 as
investors looked to safe havens and as the dollar wilted.
Treasuries were little changed, with benchmark U.S. 10-year
yields US10YT=RR at 0.9264% and two-year yields US2YT=RR at

Global assets
Global currencies vs. dollar
Emerging markets
MSCI All Country Wolrd Index Market Cap

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