Asian Market Update – Thursday: Huge gains in cryptocurrencies, Asian stocks in red

Bitcoin gain

The record bull run is not ending yet.

After a historic run on Wednesday that brought both bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin to record highs, cryptocurrencies showed no sign of backing down as of Thursday morning, despite some losses in late Wednesday trading in the US.

Bitcoin took a hit overnight from a record high of $11,262 at 10 pm Wednesday night Hong Kong time to as low as $9,646 at 4 am this morning. However, bitcoin quickly regained ground and surged right back.

At midday in Asian trading, bitcoin was up 7.69 percent to $10,700 in very active trading.

Ethereum also had a great run on Wednesday, touch $508 before it tumbled, losing as much as $78. Since early morning in Asia, however, ethereum has been trading up strongly, gaining 6.88 percent to about $463 at midday.

Litecoin also tracked bitcoin and ethereum. The coin reached a record high of $103 before taking a dive all the way to $85 overnight. Since 5 AM this morning, litecoin has regained ground and picked up 7.43 percent to $93.44.

Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan- Nikkei 225 22,575 -0.10%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,329 -0.26%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng 29,252 -1.26%
South Korea-KOSPI 2,497 -0.61%
Australia-ASX 200 5,972 -0.65%
S&P 500 E-Mini Futures 2,623 -0.08%

Most major Asian equity markets were in red territory on Thursday morning, with moderate losses seen in Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia, tracking declines in the US.

The biggest loss as of midday was seen in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index lost 1.26 percent to around 29,252 – a decline of 340 points from the same time on Wednesday.

The decline in Hong Kong was likely caused by a fall in tech and property shares, many of them from the Chinese mainland, as well as a negative sentiment out of the mainland amid regulatory tightening.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index continued on a downtrend, though showing signs of improving. Before midday Thursday, the benchmark was 0.26 percent off to trade at 3,329.

Those losses came even after signs showed that the Chinese manufacturing industry remained strong in November, with the purchasing managers’ index – a main gauge of manufacturing activity – coming in at 51.8, up from 51.6 in October.

In South Korea, the Kospi was down 0.61 percent to around 2,497 shortly after midday. South Korean investors are digesting a decision from the central bank to raise interest rates for the first time in six years as well as rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea fired off another ICBM on Wednesday.

Down under, the ASX 200 edged down 0.65 percent to 5,972 at midday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Index lost 0.1 percent to 22,575 before midday.

The S&P 500 E-Mini Futures was down 0.08 percent to 2,623 at midday.

Currencies

The Japanese yen lost 0.06 percent the US dollar at midday Thursday to 111.97 per dollar.

The Chinese yuan firmed 0.07 percent against the US dollar at 6.6045 per dollar.

The Australian dollar gained 0.17 percent on the dollar, changing hands at 1.3184 per dollar at midday.

Commodities

WTI Oil was up 0.05 percent to $57.39 per barrel.

Brent Crude was 0.06 percent higher at $62.70 per barrel.

Gold was up 0.14 percent to $1,284 an ounce.

News across Asia

In China, German firms have been voicing concerns over the Communist Party promoting party building in their wholly-owned firms. The German Chamber of Commerce has even threatened to pull businesses out of China unless the issue is resolved. Chinese experts said that the party building is a common practice and that foreign firms should not worry about it, according to Chinese newspaper Global Times.

Take away: Given the big political differences between China and the West, Western firms tend to have hard time adapting. However, most firms have found ways to adjust and become very successful. The dispute will continue but any business exit is not likely.

In South Korea, the country’s central bank increased interest rates on Thursday – the first time in over six years and a sign that officials are confident about economic growth, per Reuters.

Take away: With the move and others including removing earlier stimulus programs, the South Kora economy is entering tightening territory. 

Featured image from Pixabay.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term trading.

 

Author:
Fredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.