Asian markets advanced on Friday with technology shares in the region gaining in the wake of Apple's iPhone 5 debut while energy companies rose on higher crude oil prices.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.4% to 123.02 as of 10:30 a.m. in Tokyo, paring this week’s drop to 0.5%. It fell yesterday by the most in two months.
The Asian benchmark is up 8.1% this year compared with a 16% rise on the S&P 500 Index and a 12% gain in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
The Nikkei in Japan was up ~0.6% while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.7%. The Shanghai Composite index in China rose 0.5% while the Kospi in South Korea gained 0.5%.
The Straits Times index in Singapore advanced 0.3% while the Taiex in Taiwan rose 0.2%. The S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia was up 0.3%.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will cut economic forecasts for the global economy by a few decimal points, a fund official was quoted as saying yesterday. The most recent IMF forecast, released in July, projected 2012 global growth of 3.5%. The IMF cut its estimate for next year to 3.9%, from an April forecast of 4.1%.
“The global economy has weakened, we are shaving off our forecast for global growth by a few decimal points,” Khor Hoe Ee, an assistant director in the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, said on a conference call with reporters. "At the same time, we expect the global economy to recover gradually over the next year.”
China’s stocks rose, paring the benchmark index’s steepest five-day drop in almost a year, amid some value buying after this week’s steep losses.
The Shanghai Composite index has fallen 4.2% this week, the most since the week ended Oct. 21, 2011. It is down 7.5% year to date.
China’s economic slowdown may last longer than during the global financial crisis, a state researcher said, while the China Securities Journal said in a commentary that the central bank shouldn’t ease monetary policy amid inflation concerns.
A report on manufacturing signaled contraction for an 11th straight month.
Oil rose in New York as investors speculated that the biggest weekly decline in more than three months was exaggerated. November futures climbed as much as 0.9% after front-month prices slipped 7.2% in the four days through yesterday, when the October contract expired.
The yen was headed for a weekly gain against most major peers, as global investors seek refuge in safe haven assets amid signs of continued deceleration in the global economy.
The euro was poised for the biggest five-day decline since July against the greenback. Reports yesterday showed a composite index for manufacturing and services industries in the euro area dropped to a three-year low.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy meets his Italian counterpart Mario Monti today in Rome. A UK newspaper has reported that Spanish and EU officials were working on plans to trigger European Central Bank bond purchases.
The plan will be announced on Sept. 27 and will focus on structural reforms to the Spanish economy requested by the EU, rather than new taxes and spending cuts, the London-based newspaper said yesterday.
The euro has rallied 2.1% in the past month, the best performer among 10 developed-nation currencies. The dollar is down 2.3% and the yen has lost 0.9%.