Dollar drops to 14-month low; commodities rise
Hong Kong: The US dollar struck a 14-month low against the euro on Wednesday, sending gold to record prices and pushing oil past the 2009 high of $75 a barrel and on track for a fifth day of gains.
Buoyant commodity prices supported Australian stocks, while Asian stocks traded outside Japan rose to the highest since early August for a second day, driven by gains in the energy and technology sectors.
A surprisingly bullish outlook overnight from Intel (INTC.O), the world`s biggest chip company, lifted US stock futures 0.9 percent.
Furthermore, improvements in Chinese export and import data for September as well as a surprising rise in copper imports boded well for the rest of the year.
"Overall, export performance will be much better in the months to come," said Dong Tao, an economist with Credit Suisse in Hong Kong.
"I think it`s going to be sustainable and it`s going to accelerate. There are some rush orders coming to China for Christmas, so I expect probably a pretty strong rebound in November and December."
However, there were still reasons to be cautious about near-term economic and corporate prospects.
Federal Reserve Vice-Chairman Donald Kohn said in a speech the recovery will not be V-shaped, healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) posted disappointing quarterly revenue and closely watched independent analyst Meredith Whitney downgraded her view on Goldman Sachs (GS.N) two days before the bank`s results.
Dollar weakness to persist
The dollar dropped 0.5 percent against the yen to 89.25 yen, and the euro climbed 0.2 percent to $1.4880, the highest since August 2008.
Naoki Minezaki, a senior vice finance minister in Japan, said to a news agency that yen strength is due to dollar weakness which will likely persist, and the government should not intervene in markets just because the yen is rising.
The ICE Futures US dollar index was down 0.4 percent (.DXY) on the day and has declined 14 percent since March, when a global equity rally signaled an economic turning point and prompted investors to shift out of safe assets denominated in dollars.
The weak dollar has been a boost to commodity prices across the board.
US light crude for November delivery rose 1.21 percent to $75.05 a barrel. Brent was up 1.19 percent to $73.25.
Edible oil and copper prices turned positive on year-on-year basis earlier this month.
Gold prices in the spot market rose to a record high of $1,063.90 an ounce, up 22 percent so far this year.
In equities, the MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) rose 1.2 percent to the highest since August 12, 2008.
Hong Kong`s Hang Seng index (.HSI) rose 1 percent, driven by energy-related shares and a 2 percent rise on Shanghai`s composite index (.SSEC).
Japan`s Nikkei share average (.N225) bucked the trend and slipped 0.25 percent after a five-day rising streak.
"It`ll be hard to try above these levels until investors see apparent signs of improvement in the corporate earnings outlooks for the next business year," said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities in Tokyo.
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