Asian Market Update – Tuesday: Bitcoin leads cryptocurrencies in upswing; Asian stocks in muted holiday trading

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The Big Question: Is bitcoin ready to surge back on thin trading?

Prices of all main cryptocurrencies surged on Tuesday morning Asia, with bitcoin posting the largest gain today, more than erasing losses from the past two days.

On Coinbase, bitcoin gained 8 percent to $15,314 at midday in Asia, erasing a loss of about 6.22 percent in the past two days. The virtual currency has largely been stuck in a range between $14,000 and $16,000 since Friday last week.

Ethereum also traded up nicely both today and on Christmas Day. As of midday in Hong Kong trading, the cryptocurrency was up 2.23 percent to $757. Ethereum on Monday gained 6.29 percent.

Litecoin posted a gain of 3.3 percent to $283 at midday on Tuesday. Bitcoin’s silver has been down for the past two days, losing about 7 percent.

Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan- Nikkei 225 22,905 -0.15%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,286 0.18%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng Closed Closed
South Korea-KOSPI 2,440 0.44%
Australia-ASX 200 Closed Closed
S&P 500 E-Mini Futures 2,685 -0.03%

Major equity markets in the Asia Pacific region were mixed on Tuesday morning, with stocks in Japan edging down and stocks on the Chinese mainland up during thin holiday trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index was off 0.15 percent to 22,905 at midday.  Several sets of official data out on Tuesday indicated that fundamentals remain strong for the Japanese economy. Household spending grew 1.7 percent, while the unemployment rate fell to 2.7 percent in November, according to the data.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.44 percent at 2,440 at midday.

On the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.18 percent to 3,286. Mainland stocks were down on Monday, after news reports suggested that the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, is likely to maintain a similar level of M2 money supply in 2018, sparking concerns over tighter liquidity.

The S&P 500 E-Mini Future was off 0.27 percent at 2,661 at midday on Tuesday.

Markets in Hong Kong and Australia were closed on Tuesday for Christmas holiday.

As many global markets remain closed, Asian trading is also likely to remain thin today and for the week.

Currencies

The Japanese yen firmed 0.04 percent against the US dollar at midday Tuesday, changing hands at 113.26 per dollar.

The Chinese yuan was down 0.21 percent against the US dollar at 6.5518 per dollar.

The Australian dollar firmed 0.01 percent on the dollar, changing hands at 1.2952 per dollar at midday.

Commodities

WTI Oil was up 0.34 percent to $58.47 per barrel.

Brent Crude edged up 0.28 percent to $65.20 per barrel.

Gold gained 0.65 percent to $1,275 an ounce.

News across Asia

In India, despite recent hardships, the Indian economy is set to surpass the UK’s and France’s economies to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in 2018, according to a report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research out on Tuesday. The US is to remain the no. 1 economy, but is likely to be surpassed by China in 2032, the report said.

Take away: Unsurprisingly, Asian economies are increasingly dominating the top 10 largest economies over the next decade or so.

In Japan, household spending grew strongly in November, while the unemployment rate fell, according to official data on Tuesday. In the month, Japanese household spending rose 1.7 percent, way above a 0.5 percent median forecast by economists, according to Reuters. The unemployment rate fell to 2.7 percent, lower than the 2.8 percent expected.

Take away: The Japanese economy is set to finish a strong year this year and is expected to continue on the positive trend in 2018, as the government signaled its intentions to continue with robust stimulus policies. 

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.

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