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Asia markets rise in muted session as most markets closed for holiday



Bank of Korea expected to pause for second time in April: Reuters

The Bank of Korea is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate steady at 3.5% again in its monetary policy decision on Tuesday, according to Reuters survey of economists.

DBS was the outlier in the survey and expects the BOK to raise rates by 25 basis points to 3.75%.

The South Korean central bank in its last meeting in February paused its tightening cycle after seven consecutive rate hikes since March 2022.

The Reuters poll also expects the central bank to start cutting rates by as much as 50 basis points in the first quarter of 2024 and even further in the third and fourth quarter of next year.

— Jihye Lee

Most of Asia-Pacific’s largest banks saw declines in Q1: S&P

CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs just turned bearish on BMW and others — and Tesla could be to blame

Bank of Japan’s holdings of JGBs reaches record in March

The Bank of Japan’s holdings of Japanese government bonds reached a record by the end of March, data showed on Friday.


The central bank held 581.7 trillion yen of JGBs as of March 31, it said in its release the largest amount since the BOJ started compiling data in 2013, according to Reuters.

— Jihye Lee

China further sanctions Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to U.S.

China imposed further sanctions on Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim for allegedly “relying on the U.S. to seek Taiwan’s independence,” state media Xinhua News Agency reported, citing China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

The measures prohibit Hsiao and her family members from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao. It also bans investors and companies related to Hsiao from “cooperating with mainland organizations and individuals,” the report said.

The measures come after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a stopover in California earlier this week.

— Jihye Lee


Currency check: Korean won weakens while Japanese yen strengthens

Asia currencies traded mixed on Friday as the dollar index rose 0.12% to 101.95 in the morning session.

The Japanese yen traded at slightly stronger levels at 131.75 against the greenback while the Korean won weakened marginally to 1,319.80 against the U.S. dollar.

The offshore Chinese yuan also saw some strengthening to 6.8855 against the greenback.

The Australian dollar was volatile and last stood at 0.6673 per U.S. dollar.

— Jihye Lee

Japan’s household spending rises less than expected

Japan’s all household spending rose 1.6% in February compared with a year ago, government data showed.

The reading was lower than expectations of 4.3% forecast in a Reuters poll, while notching up from a contraction of 0.3% seen in January.


Month-on-month, all household spending fell 2.4%, reversing the growth of 2.7% seen in the previous month.

Separately, Japan’s economy saw overtime pay in February rise 1.7% compared with a year ago, ticking upward from the previous reading of 1.1%.

— Jihye Lee

Samsung Electronics sees its operating profit falling 96% in Q1

Samsung Electronics estimated its first-quarter operating profit likely fell to 600 billion won ($455 million) according to the company’s latest earnings guidance released on Friday.

That’s a 95.7% plunge from its operating profit of 14.12 trillion won reported in the same quarter in 2022.

Revenue is expected to have fallen nearly 20% compared with last year’s 63 trillion won, Samsung said in its release.

Shares of Samsung Electronics sharply rose 3.2% at the open following the company estimates.


— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Want to play soaring gold prices? These stocks are seen rising by at least 20%

With gold prices hovering near record highs, CNBC Pro has comprised a list of buy-rated stocks which are expected to soar over 20%.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Fed’s Bullard thinks inflation will be sticky

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said Thursday he doesn’t see inflationary pressures going away soon.

We’ve got a long ways to go and I think inflation is going to be sticky going forward, it’s going to be difficult to get inflation back down to the 2% target … so we are going to have to stay at it in order to apply pressure to make sure inflation gets back down,” Bullard said, according to Reuters.

The Fed is scheduled to meet next month, with traders pricing in a near 50-50 chance of another rate hike.


— Fred Imbert

Earnings are expected to post worst decline since Q3 2020

The first-quarter earnings season kicks off next week with big banks including JPMorgan and Citigroup reporting. Consensus expectations are for S&P 500’s earnings per share to fall by 7% year over year, the largest decline since the third quarter of 2020, according to Goldman Sachs. It will also mark a “significant deterioration” from the 1% decline in the prior quarter, the bank said.

— Yun Li

Jobless claims at 228,000 last week, higher than expected

Jobless claims totaled 228,000 for the week ended April 1, as signs build that the labor market is coming under pressure, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The total actually represented a decline of 18,000 from the week before, following seasonal revisions that took the initially reported number up by 48,000 to 246,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 200,000 from Thursday’s report.

Continuing claims, which run a week behind, edged higher to 1.823 million, the highest since December 2021.

The report comes a day ahead of the department’s nonfarm payrolls count, which is expected to show a gain of 238,000 for March.


—Jeff Cox

Source: CNBC

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