Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) – Asian stocks rose to a one-week high and the Australian dollar and emerging market currencies gained on expectations for stronger economic growth in the region. European shares climbed.
Mining companies led the MSCI Asia Pacific Index up 1 percent to 117.96, the highest since Nov. 18, at 4:28 p.m. in Hong Kong. The Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 600 Index added 0.8 percent and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures rose 0.4 percent. Australia’s dollar strengthened 0.9 percent to 92.74 U.S. cents after the central bank’s deputy governor, Ric Battellino, said the economy was in a “new upswing.” The U.S. dollar traded below $1.50 to the euro for the first time in more than a week and metals gained.
“There should be stronger growth in Asia than any other region next year,” said Christian Jin, a fund manager at HI Asset Management Co. in Seoul, which oversees the equivalent of $7.8 billion. “Domestic demand is good and exports to developed economies are likely to improve.”
Australia’s economy will expand 2.9 percent next year as the world exits the first global recession since World War II, according to the median estimate of seven economists in a Bloomberg survey. Japan’s exports dropped 23.2 percent from a year earlier in October following a 30.6 percent decline the previous month, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo. The decline was the smallest in a year and beat the median estimate of 18 economists for a 26.8 percent drop.
The Stoxx 600 index of European shares gained 1.93 to 248.81, led by BHP Billiton Plc and Banco Santander SA.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.4 percent to 1,108.10. The U.S. stock gauge lost less than 0.1 percent yesterday to 1,105.65 as Federal Reserve officials said record-low interest rates might fuel “excessive” speculation in financial markets.
The Australian dollar strengthened against all 16 of its most-traded counterparts after Battellino said it’s “reasonable to assume we will see this growth extended for a few more years yet,” adding to speculation for higher interest rates.
Policy makers raised rates twice since Oct. 6 and there’s a 76 percent chance the Reserve Bank will boost borrowing costs on Dec. 1, according to a Credit Suisse AG index based on swaps.
Benchmark rates are 3.5 percent in Australia and 2.5 percent in New Zealand, compared with 0.1 percent in Japan and as low as zero in the U.S., attracting investors to the South Pacific nations’ higher yields. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the currency against six of its main trading partners, fell for a third day, dropping 0.4 percent to 74.809.