BoE rate call looms, Asian shares firm as oil rebounds for now


SINGAPORE : The British pound edged up on Thursday as investors counted on the Bank of England to cut interest rates to a record low, while a rebound in oil prices from four-month lows lifted Asian stocks.

The expected BoE cut to a record low 0.25 percent later on Thursday would be the first since 2009 as Britain’s economy teeters on the brink of recession.

The sterling rose 0.1 percent to $1.3340 keeping some distance from its three-decade low of $1.2798 hit almost a month ago, although currency markets may be somewhat ambivalent over how to react to the BoE decision. Meanwhile, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.4 percent led by gains in resource shares, recouping some of its 1.5 percent losses on Wednesday.

Britain’s economy is slowing at the fastest pace since the financial crisis based on Market’s monthly all-sector Purchasing Managers’ Index on Wednesday, which recorded the steepest month-on-month decline on record.

The euro held steady at $1.1149, slipping from 5-week high of $1.1234 touched on Monday.Oil, which jumped more than 3 percent on Wednesday, extended gains in Asian trade on Thursday, arresting its almost constant fall since early June after a larger-than-expected gasoline draw eased concerns about global supply glut. Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 0.6 percent on Thursday to $43.34 per barrel, extending its recovery from Monday’s four-month low of $41.41. U.S. crude CLc1 gained 0.7 percent to $41.12 per barrel.

That advance, which boosted energy shares, contributed to gains on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 index  closing up 0.3 percent on Wednesday. Japanese shares, however, failed to join in the rebound, with the Nikkei reversing earlier gains to touch a near-four-week low on Thursday. It was last down 0.4 percent.

Deputy Governor Bank of Japan Kikuo Iwata said on Thursday that a comprehensive review of the central bank’s monetary policy next month would focus on the transmission mechanism and obstacles to its monetary policy. However, it is not meant to offer a specific direction for future monetary policy, he said.

Source : Reuters






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