Asian markets higher after US growth data

PHOTO: Asian markets higher after US growth data

HONG KONG- Asian markets climbed on Monday, following a record lead from Wall Street, after US economic growth figures came in well above expectations.

Chinese shares picked up after the mainland's central bank last week injected funds into financial markets to calm fears of a cash crunch.

Hong Kong rose 0.40 per cent, Sydney gained 0.29 per cent, Seoul was 0.61 per cent higher and Shanghai climbed 0.48 per cent. Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

US shares rallied on Friday after the Commerce Department said the US economy grew 4.1 per cent year-on-year in July-September, much faster than estimated and up from 2.5 per cent clocked up in the previous three months. It was the strongest growth in the world's largest economy since the fourth quarter of 2011, when the pace hit 4.9 per cent.

It came after a decision by the Federal Reserve to trim its stimulus programme by US$10 billion (S$12.7 billion) to US$75 billion a month from next month, citing a pick-up in the economy and falling unemployment.

On Wall Street, the Dow added 0.26 per cent and the S&P 500 rose 0.48 per cent - both ending at record highs while the Nasdaq climbed 1.15 per cent.

Chinese shares rebounded after suffering a sell-off Friday on concerns about a cash crunch similar to one that hit in June.

Dealers welcomed a huge injection of liquidity into financial markets last week by the central People's Bank of China after interbank borrowing rates - which lenders charge each other to borrow cash - shot up.

The bank pumped 300 billion yuan (S$62.5 billion) into the market - sending rates falling from 8.2 per cent on Friday to 5.57 per cent in early trade on Monday.

The turmoil last week came as banks and other investors scrambled for cash as they near the end of the year, when they typically have to meet regulatory requirements and funding demands from companies.

In forex trade the dollar bought 104.05 yen compared with 104.06 yen in New York Friday. The euro bought $1.3685 against US$1.3671, while it was also at 142.37 yen from 142.31 yen

Oil prices were mixed. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery, was down four cents at US$99.28 in early Asian trading while Brent North Sea crude for February gained 11 cents to US$111.88.

Gold fetched US$1,202.10 at 0230 GMT compared with US$1,195.25 late Friday.