Equities markets around Asia are mostly higher on Friday in a session kept subdued by Wall Street taking a holiday overnight for Thanksgiving. The US dollar continues to climb, though, most notably pushing the yen to its weakest level in eight months.
Japan is still the standout story in Asia today. Continued strength in the US dollar is keeping the yen under pressure, with the Japanese currency breaking through the ¥113 mark yesterday and getting closer to weakening below ¥114 to the dollar on Friday.
That is helping exporters lead the Japanese stock market higher, with the Topix benchmark on track for an 11th straight day of gains.
But there was also some encouraging news for the economy, as Japan looked to be shaking off the spectre of deflation. Data showed headline consumer prices turned positive in October for the first time since February, while a measure of underlying inflation that strips out food and energy prices rose last month after registering zero growth in September.
In general, foreign exchange is where the fireworks has been this week, with the likes of China’s renminbi, India’s rupee, Malaysia’s ringgit and the Philippines peso all hitting multi-year lows against the US dollar.
Today, the yen is the worst-performer among Asian currencies, 0.4 per cent weaker at ¥113.72 per dollar. Next worst is the Malaysian ringgit, down 0.2 per cent, while the Australian dollar is the best performer, up by about one-third of 1 per cent today.
Japan’s benchmark Topix was up 0.7 per cent, while the Nikkei 225 gained 0.8 per cent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.4 per cent, and the technology-focused Shenzhen Composite shed 0.6 per cent.