Asia markets: Federal Reserve, coronavirus, currencies


Stocks in Asia-Pacific were set to trade mixed at the open as investors react to recent comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks, which are set to start their trading week following holidays on Monday and Tuesday. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,950 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,090. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,360.30.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia looked set to rise, with the SPI futures contract at 5,831.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,784.10.

In a prepared testimony, the Fed’s Powell said the central bank remains committed to supporting the economy  through its tools “for as long as it takes.” He also noted that “many economic indicators show marked improvement,” though the path forward “continues to be highly uncertain.”

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.988 following its rise earlier this week from levels below 93.5.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.98 per dollar following a weakening from levels around 104.4 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.717, having weakened from levels above $0.725 this week.



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