Asian shares rise, dollar staggers after ‘dovish’ Powell comments
Asian equities rose, while the dollar wobbled on Wednesday after less hawkish than feared comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell boosted risk appetite and investor hopes that the central bank may soon ease monetary policy.
Investors will also watch the State of the Union speech from U.S. President Joe Biden, in which he will declare U.S democracy is bruised but “unbowed and unbroken” and cite progress in a post-pandemic economy after massive infrastructure and inflation bills passed in 2022.
In an eagerly awaited speech earlier on Tuesday, the Fed’s Powell reiterated that disinflation has begun but warned that Friday’s eye-popping jobs report showed why the battle against inflation will “take quite a bit of time.”
Those jobs figures showed a surprising addition of 517,000 new jobs in January, stoking fears that the tight labour market may compel the Fed to remain hawkish.
“It didn’t take much for markets to re-find their mojo after last Friday’s payrolls shock, just a speech from Fed Chair Powell, at which he was not materially more hawkish than he was after the recent FOMC decision,” said Rob Carnell, ING’s regional head of research, Asia-Pacific.
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