Asian shares track Wall Street gains on cooling inflation

Asian shares track Wall Street gains on cooling inflation


BANGKOK (AP) — Shares advanced Thursday in Asia after benchmarks closed at three-month highs on Wall Street as investors cheered a report showing inflation cooled more than expected in July.

Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul saw gains of more than 1%. Tokyo was closed for a holiday. U.S. futures edged higher, while oil prices slipped.

The government said Wednesday that consumer inflation jumped 8.5% in July from a year earlier. But that was down from June’s four-decade high of 9.1%.

The S&P 500 surged 2.1% on expectations that slower inflation will mean the Federal Reserve may moderate its interest rates hikes. Technology stocks, cryptocurrencies and other investments that have been among the year’s biggest losers due to the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes led the way.

Asian markets also took heart. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 2.2% to 20,044.76, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 1.6%, to 3,281.09. The Kospi in Seoul rose 1.4% to 2,515.45. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.9% to 7,057.30. Taiwan's Taiex was up 1.7%.

In Thailand, the SET picked up 0.4% after the country's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 0.75% a day earlier. The Southeast Asian country's economy has been hard hit by the pandemic, which ravaged its all-important tourism sector.

Still, experts warned the war against inflation is not over.

“It’s of course great to see the latest inflation print come lower-than-expected, but first, one data point doesn’t make a trend, and we had a similar surprise earlier this year, but then inflation spiked to fresh multi-decade highs the following month," Ipek Ozkardeskaya of Swissquote Bank said in a report.

She noted that softer energy prices were the main factor tempering inflation, while prices for food,...

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