Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dollar down, markets up in Asia after Obama win

HONG KONG: The dollar slipped in Asian trade on Wednesday, while share markets rose after President Barack Obama was re-elected in a knife-edge US presidential election.

As a hard-fought campaign came down to the wire Obama was declared winner after picking up crucial swing states, wiping away uncertainty that had pervaded markets for the past few days.

But in afternoon foreign exchange trade the greenback slipped against the euro and yen as dealers bet that under Obama the Federal Reserve would continue with the loose monetary policy that has seen it flood markets with billions of dollars.

The European single currency bought $1.2861 in Tokyo, well up from $1.2788 earlier Wednesday and $1.2814 in New York late Tuesday. The greenback was also at 80.05 yen compared with 80.34 yen in New York.

The greenback was also broadly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies, including the Australian, Taiwan and Singapore dollars, and the Indian rupee.

A clear victory had been the overriding hope as it will now allow the government to move on fixing the austere "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts that sits on the horizon and could hammer the economy.

In afternoon trade Asian shares were higher.

Sydney gained 0.71 per cent, or 31.7 points, to end at 4,516.5, and in the afternoon Hong Kong rose 0.30 per cent, Seoul gained 0.33 per cent and Shanghai was up 0.16 per cent while Tokyo was flat.

"An Obama victory ensures the continuity of the US monetary policy, which is likely to be kept loose," SHK Financial strategist Daniel So told Dow Jones Newswires.

He added that a Romney win would likely see him "launch policies to incentivise fund flow back to the US, so in terms of liquidity inflow an Obama win also favours the Asian markets".

Wall Street ended with impressive gains ahead of the election results. The Dow rose 1.02 per cent, the S&P 500 climbed 0.79 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.41 per cent.

However, regional traders were still concerned about Europe's debt woes, which were stoked on Tuesday after data showed a bigger-than-expected slump in factory orders in Germany, the eurozone's biggest economy.

Berlin said industrial orders declined 3.3 per cent in September from August after already falling 0.8 per cent the previous month.

That is much steeper than expected. Analysts polled by Dow Jones had been pencilling in a fall of 0.5 per cent.

The drop was largely due to a decline in export orders, particularly from the eurozone, where they plummeted 9.6 per cent.

Eyes are also on the upcoming 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party that begins on Thursday and which will see the country's leaders for the next 10 years anointed.

Oil prices were lower, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, down 29 cents to $88.42 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for December delivery shedding 52 cents to $110.55.

Gold prices rose thanks to the weaker dollar, sitting at $1,710.40 by 0545 GMT compared with $1,679.75 late Monday.

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