Greek austerity measures provide boost to Asian markets

<p>The passing of austerity measures in Greece provided some boost to Asian markets, which traded higher at the opening of this week. The MSCI Asia […]</p>

The passing of austerity measures in Greece provided some boost to Asian markets, which traded higher at the opening of this week. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.4% just after noon in Tokyo.

The Euro rallied on the austerity news, last trading at 1.3241 against the US dollar. The Australian dollar climbed back above 1.07 against the US dollar to last settle at 1.0732 with 1.08 in sight. Gold also added to gains, last at US$1729/oz.

In regional economic news, Japan’s annualised fourth quarter GDP showed a contraction of 2.3%, larger than market consensus estimates of 1.3%. The data underscores the problems the high currency is causing for the nation’s exporters and the headache the Bank of Japan must deal with when considering when to intervene in currency markets again. The slump in exports was a key reason for the activity decline. The US dollar was last trading at 77.60 against the Japanese Yen.

In Australian corporate news, listed electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi reported a fall in first half earnings. Comparable sales growth fell by 2.2% for the first six months of this financial year. The rate of decline continued into January, which experienced a 5.5% decline the rate of comparable sales growth. February was better but it is not that large in terms of revenue composition for the full year. Shares in the listed retailer initially increased with fears of a disastrous number eased, but gains were eroded late in the trading session.

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