Asian stocks rise, US dollar sags after Fed official's dovish comments

Asian stocks have risen and the US dollar has sagged after Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard's dovish comments.
Asian stocks have risen and the US dollar has sagged after Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard's dovish comments. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian stocks rose early on Tuesday (Sept 13), boosted as Wall Street rallied overnight after Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard brought relief to risk asset markets by reducing prospects of a near-term interest rate hike.

The US dollar, on the other hand, nursed losses against its peers after Ms Brainard reiterated her dovish views.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.5 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei added 0.6 per cent, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.9 per cent and Australian stocks advanced 0.7 per cent.

While some investors had speculated that the Fed's Brainard would switch over to the more hawkish camp, she said Monday she wanted to see a stronger trend in US consumer spending and evidence of rising inflation before the Fed raises rates, and that the United States still looked vulnerable to economic weakness abroad.

The comments solidified the view the US central bank would leave interest rates unchanged next week.

Future traders are now pricing in a 15 per cent chance of a hike at the Fed's Sept 20-21 policy-setting meeting, down from 21 per cent earlier on Monday, according to the CME Group's FedWatch Tool.

US stocks racked up their strongest gain in two months on Monday, with the Dow rising 1.3 per cent and the S&P 500 gaining 1.5 per cent.

"Keep in mind that European and US equities were already rallying into Brainard's speech and those brave enough to fight the progressive bearish equity sentiment were rewarded with a U.S. stock market that closed on its high, with excellent participation," wrote Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne.

The dollar was steady at 101.860 yen after shedding 0.8 per cent overnight. The euro nudged up 0.1 per cent to US$1.1239 while the dollar index stood little changed at 95.108 after losing about 0.2 per cent the previous day.

In the global bond market, the recent sharp rise in yields was halted for now after Brainard's comments. Yields had been rising as bond prices fell in the face of perceived limits to monetary policies of major central banks such as the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury note yield stood at 1.661 per cent after touching a 2-1/2 month high of 1.697 per cent earlier on Monday.

Crude oil prices dipped as investors sold into the previous day's gains. Brent crude was down 0.3 per cent at US$48.16 a barrel after rising 0.65 per cent overnight on a weaker dollar and stronger US equity markets.