European equity index futures rallied and most Asian shares rose as the British pound rebounded ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy review. The yuan traded near a five-year low after MSCI Inc. decided to keep Chinese equities out of its benchmark indexes.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index halted a four-day losing streak, helping bring an end to the steepest selloff in global stocks since January. Shares in Shanghai reversed earlier losses, spurring speculation state-backed funds were supporting prices, and Japan’s Topix climbed from a two-month low. The British pound strengthened, after sliding more than 1 percent in two of the last three trading sessions, and the yen retreated from its strongest level since 2014. Crude broke below $48 a barrel after a report showed U.S. stockpiles increased, while copper rose. Japanese bond yields plumbed new lows.
About $2.5 trillion was wiped off the value of global equities in the past week and the pound tumbled as a slew of polls showed growing support for Britain to leave the European Union ahead of a June 23 referendum. The vote is making investors wary before central banks in the U.S., Japan and the U.K. review monetary policy this week. MSCI, whose emerging-markets index is tracked by some $1.5 trillion of funds, said more improvement in access to China’s stock market was needed before the nation’s equities can be added to its benchmarks.
“While we get a bounce following the huge knockdown across markets, investors should probably sell into the strength ahead of the Brexit vote,” said Nicholas Teo, a trading strategist at KGI Fraser Securities Pte in Singapore. “There’s a lot of uncertainties out there. A statement from the Fed tonight may help calm the market, but concerns remain on the timing of the rate hike.”
The Fed is expected to keep the benchmark lending rate unchanged when its two-day policy meeting concludes in Washington, though the central bank’s statement and Chair Janet Yellen’s comments at a press briefing will be scrutinized for clues on the likely timing of the next increase. Futures indicate the odds of a move by July tumbled to 16 percent from 53 percent since the start of this month, damped by weak U.S. payrolls data and turbulence in global financial markets.
Futures on the Euro Stoxx 50 Index climbed 0.9 percent as of 7:20 a.m. London time. Contracts on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced 0.3 percent, after the gauge closed below 6,000 for the first time since February, and those on the S&P 500 Index were little changed. The U.S. benchmark ended the last session at a three-week low.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed, after sliding 4.4 percent over the last four sessions. Japan’s Topix climbed 0.4 percent as the yen snapped a three-day advance and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.3 percent. Toshiba Corp. jumped more than 7 percent in Tokyo as brokerages including CLSA Ltd. turned more positive on the stock.
The Shanghai Composite gained 1.7 percent, after earlier sliding as much as 1.1 percent following the MSCI decision. China’s benchmark is still down 18 percent for the year.
“It’s a sharp reversal so there has to be some government intervention,” said
Francis Lun, chief executive officer at Geo Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The Chinese government never wants to see the market falling too much.”
The yuan fell as much as 0.1 percent to a five-year low of 6.6047 a dollar in Shanghai, before trading little changed at 6.5928.
The pound strengthened 0.4 percent to $1.4166. It slid 1.1 percent on Tuesday after five opinion polls in two days put the ‘Leave’ campaign ahead of ‘Remain’ in the run-up to the EU vote and as Britain’s best-selling newspaper, The Sun, backed a withdrawal. The amount wagered on the currency falling to $1.35 or lower — levels last seen in the 1980s — after the referendum has more than doubled during the past three months.
The yen weakened 0.2 percent to 106.29 per dollar, after rallying almost 1 percent over the past three sessions. It touched 105.55 on May 3, the strongest level since October 2014.
West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 1.3 percent to $47.85 a barrel, falling for a fifth day. Concern over a global glut in the commodity reemerged with the American Petroleum Institute reporting a 1.16 million-barrel increase in U.S. oil inventories for last week. Nigerian militants, whose attacks on oil infrastructure have sent the country’s output plunging to its lowest level in 27 years, also said for the first time they are considering peace talks.
Copper rose 1.1 percent in London, while nickel advanced for the first time in a week. Gold was little changed, after surging 3.4 percent over the last five days.
Yields on Japan’s benchmark government bonds were at record lows across tenors from two to 40 years. The rate on notes due in a decade fell to an unprecedented minus 0.195 percent, while 20-year and 30-year yields touched historic lows of 0.135 percent and 0.21 percent, respectively.
Ten-year U.S. Treasuries yielded 1.62 percent, after ending the last two sessions at 1.61 percent, the lowest closing level since 2012. The rate on similar-maturity German debt held close to zero, after sliding into negative territory for the first time on Tuesday as the U.K.’s potential exit from the EU fueled demand for haven assets.