Asian stocks extend global advance as oil slips, ringgit weakens for 11th day

An electronic board informing customers that the Malaysian Ringgit is out of stock at a Change Alley money changer on Nov 14, 2016.
An electronic board informing customers that the Malaysian Ringgit is out of stock at a Change Alley money changer on Nov 14, 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

WELLINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks rose on Wednesday (Nov 23) amid optimism the global economy is strong enough to withstand higher US interest rates.

Oil slid for the first time in four days after Opec left unresolved how Iran and Iraq will participate in planned output cuts.

Malaysia's ringgit weakened for an 11th straight day to a 13-month low before a central bank meeting.

The MSCI All-Country World Index headed for its third day of gains, the longest winning streak in two months, as equity traders took an optimistic stance before America's Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Developed-market shares and the dollar have been among the biggest winners since Donald Trump's surprise election victory fueled speculation of more fiscal stimulus, while government bonds and emerging markets have slumped. Traders will look for further confirmation of the Fed's policy intentions when minutes from the central bank's November meeting are released on Wednesday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index advanced 0.6 per cent at 12.26pm Hong Kong time, building on last session's 1.1 per cent increase.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index added 1.2 per cent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index climbed 0.9 per cent. Singapore's benchmark gauge gained 0.5 per cent, while the Philippines market lagged behind with a 1.2 per cent drop. Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed, following last session's 0.2 per cent advance in the underlying benchmark.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major peers, was little changed after climbing 4 per cent since the election.

"A December Fed funds 25 basis-point rate hike is fully priced in," said Mr Elias Haddad, a senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. "The dollar will continue to be driven by the pace of the Fed's tightening cycle beyond December."

Malaysia's ringgit fell 0.5 per cent against the US dollar, heading for the longest losing streak since December 2013. All 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict Bank Negara Malaysia will hold its overnight policy rate at 3 per cent on Wednesday, after surprising the market with a reduction in July. The central bank has shifted focus to supporting the ringgit as expectations of a Fed rate increase spur capital outflows.

Against the Singapore dollar, the ringgit was trading at 3.1150 at 1.35pm, down 0.35 per cent from its previous day's close.

China's yuan weakened to a record in offshore trading, sliding 0.1 per cent to 6.9222 per dollar.

Commodities Brent crude declined 0.2 per cent to US$49.01 a barrel as West Texas Intermediate dropped 0.3 per cent to US$47.90.

While Libya's Opec governor Mohamed Oun said talks on Tuesday in Vienna ended with a consensus, the meeting did not resolve whether Iraq and Iran will join any output cuts proposed by major global oil producers and deferred the matter to a meeting scheduled for Nov 30, two delegates said.