Strong start for Asian shares; Australian dollar appreciates as the Euro weakens

<p>Asian stocks kicked off the year in positive territory after a poor final quarter in 2011. The MSCI Asia Pacific index, excluding Japan which was […]</p>

Asian stocks kicked off the year in positive territory after a poor final quarter in 2011. The MSCI Asia Pacific index, excluding Japan which was closed today, added 1.7% at noon in Hong Kong.

The Australian market added 1.2% going into the close of trading, supported by gains across the board. The Australian dollar was last trading just shy of 103 US cents while the Euro continues to weaken.

The Japanese Yen is approaching the crucial post war highs which might prompt another round of intervention from the Bank of Japan. The USD/JPY was last trading at around 76.80.

Gold managed to add around 1% during the Asian trading session but remains below US$1600/oz.

In regional economic news, a read into Australian manufacturing showed an expansion for the first time in six months, surprising many given the steady stream of negative data in the final months of 2011.

The numbers in Singapore were not as positive, pointing to an annualised decline in GDP of around 4.9% in the final quarter of 2011. The decline was broadly in line with market expectations which were hosed down on negative Chinese manufacturing data and the impact of European debt on the region.

In energy markets, Brent Crude Oil continued to add to recent gains, adding around 1.3% to US$108.66 per barrel. Traders are carefully monitoring the impact of war games by Iran in the Persian Gulf.

Join our live webinars for the latest analysis and trading ideas. Register now

GAIN Capital UK Limited (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

For further details see our full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.