TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian shares extended a global rally on Wednesday (Sept 9), with markets in China stabilising and Japanese stocks posting their biggest one-day gain since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008.
Japan's Nikkei soared 7.7 per cent, its biggest single-day gain since October 2008, apparently galvanized by hopes of corporate tax cuts. In the previous session, the Nikkei lost 2.4 per cent and wiped out its year-to-date gain.
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan also rallied hard, rising 3 per cent as of 0534 GMT, with gains across all the major indices.
The Shanghai Composite index climbed 2.3 per cent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 3.5 per cent in further signs of stability.
But trading in mainland stocks and index futures remained thin, reflecting persistent investor caution, as well as the side effects of the tough medicine prescribed for China's ailing stock market.
The Straits Times Index was trading up per cent at 0.62 per cent at 2,903.31 as of 2:23 pm.
Shares were up 2.96 per cent in Seoul and 2.07 per cent in Sydney.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government aims to lower the corporate tax rate by a cumulative 3.3 percentage points over two years through the next fiscal year starting in April 2016.
The upbeat mood was set to lift Europe, with financial spreadbetters expecting Britain's FTSE 100 to open up as much as 2.2 per cent, Germany's DAX 3.6 per cent higher, and France's CAC 40 2.2 per cent higher.
Major Wall Street indices all posted gains of more than 2 per cent overnight.
European stocks also had a banner day on news Germany's imports and exports hit record highs in value terms in July.
Chinese shares rose late on Tuesday after negotiating some dour economic news in the form of a bigger-than-expected drop in imports. The trade data raised fears that China's slowdown could be sharper than many had expected, which in turn raised hopes that Beijing would muster more easing steps to prevent a hard landing.
"With many markets having been sold off heavily over recent weeks, today's rally, like the US last night, represents a speculative bounce," said Angus Gluskie, managing director of White Funds Management in Sydney. "The market will remain susceptible to a return of negativity until we see signs of some improvement in the original causes of weakness, which were predominantly Chinese growth concerns," he said.
The US dollar put in a mixed performance, rising 0.2 per cent against a basket of six rival currencies to 96.142, and slipping 0.4 per cent against the euro to US$1.1160.
But the greenback firmed about 0.5 per cent against the yen to 120.43 as the improved market mood tempered the appeal of the safe-haven Japanese currency.
The euro also gained on the yen, rising 0.2 per cent to 134.40.
Crude oil futures gained but remained at low levels on lingering concerns about a global supply glut.
US crude rose 0.3 per cent to US$46.20 ahead of weekly crude inventories data due from industry group American Petroleum Institute later in the session.
Brent crude added 0.9 per cent to US$49.95, after jumping 4 per cent the previous session.