G7 yen pledge boosts Asian stock markets

Saturday, 19 March 2011 00:39 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

HONG KONG, (AFP) -Asian stocks gained Friday after the G7 rich nations vowed to intervene in forex markets to stem the yen’s rise and support Japan’s economy amid a nuclear crisis after a record earthquake.

Traders immediately welcomed the decision after the morning talks between authorities in Japan, the United States, the eurozone, Canada and Britain, with the yen sliding almost immediately against the dollar and European single unit.

And oil resumed its upward march after the United Nations agreed to air strikes on forces fighting for Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi as he wages an offensive against anti-government rebels.

In morning Tokyo trade the US dollar traded at 81.58 yen, compared with 78.95 in late US trade Thursday and the euro bought 114.72 yen from 110.67.

The Japanese unit soared to a post World War Two high 76.52 on Thursday as traders grew nervous about the situation at the nuclear plant as crews battled to avert a meltdown after it was rocked by last week’s quake and tsunami.

The weakening yen boosted Japan’s exporters Friday, sending the Nikkei stock index 1.77 percent higher by the break.

However, the market is still more than 10 percent down over the week after diving 16 percent on Monday and Tuesday, its biggest two-day loss in 24 years. News of the intervention had a knock-on effect for the rest of the region, with Hong Kong up 0.52 percent, Sydney rising one percent and Shanghai adding 0.68 percent.

Seoul jumped 1.17 percent and Taipei gained 1.14 percent.

The Group of Seven said in a statement after the early morning talks in Tokyo: “We express our solidarity with the Japanese people in these difficult times, our readiness to provide any needed cooperation and our confidence in the resilience of the Japanese economy and financial sector. “As we have long stated, excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates have adverse implications for economic and financial stability. We will monitor exchange markets closely and will cooperate as appropriate.”Dealers said Japan appeared to have already stepped into the market to sell the yen.

The Bank of Japan on Friday injected another three trillion yen ($37 billion) of emergency funds into the short-term money markets -- the latest in a series of injections to prevent financial institutions running out of cash.

The central bank has now pumped a total of 37 trillion yen into the markets.

Global stocks have dived this week as the atomic crisis unfolds northeast of Tokyo, where authorities at the Fukushima No. 1 plant were trying to regain control after a series of blasts caused by the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami. On oil markets crude jumped after the UN Security Council agreement to repel Kadhafi’s forces in Libya.

The decision, which opens the way for imminent bombing raids, stoked worries about supplies from the oil-rich country, where anti-government forces are fighting to bring down the four-decade rule of strongman Kadhafi.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April rose $1.51 to $102.93 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for May delivery was up $1.10 to $116.00.

Gold opened at $1,407.00-$1,409.00 an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Thursday’s close of $1,396.20-$1,397.20.