Most Asian markets reversed early losses and oil continued its recent rally after China slashed the quarantine time for visitors, fuelling hope for a boost to the embattled economy. The news came as Beijing and Shanghai appeared to have contained a Covid outbreak that had forced officials to impose lockdowns which compounded global supply chain snarls.
Authorities said inbound travellers would now only have to quarantine for 10 days, instead of the three weeks that had been in place during the pandemic.
The news provided a much-needed boost to shares, which had mostly been down on renewed concerns about central bank interest rate hikes and soaring inflation. On Monday the central People’s Bank of China pledged to provide support to the world’s number two economy.
The gains extended a rally enjoyed last week on bets that a possible recession next year could allow finance chiefs to ease up on their monetary tightening campaign. This relaxation sends the signal that the economy comes first,” Li Changmin, at Snowball Wealth, said. “It is a sign of the importance of the economy at this point.”
After spending the morning in the red, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Wellington turned higher, while there were also gains in Sydney, Manila and Bangkok. Mumbai, Taipei and Jakarta slipped while Singapore was flat.
London, Paris and Frankfurt were all up as traders digest comments from European Central Bank boss Christine Lagarde, who said it would go “as far as necessary” to bring inflation back down to its two percent goal.
However, Huang Yanzhong of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations warned: “It’s not surprising that China has managed to return to so-called zero, after all the huge effort it’s made.
“But that doesn’t mean it can claim a thorough and durable victory because it didn’t eradicate the virus,” he said. “Unless they thoroughly fence off Beijing and Shanghai, the virus could sneak in anytime.
In other news – You remember Sifiso Simamane (The Captain) from Uzalo? – Here’s what he is up to
Former Uzalo actor Sifiso Simamane has started a casting agency. The agency is called STK Casting Agency and it was opened two months ago.
It is based in Durban but it is able to locate talent anywhere in the country. Learn more