Asian Market Update – Wednesday: Cryptocurrencies surging, Asian stocks up

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The Big Question: Is ethereum in trouble?

Prices of main cryptocurrencies were pointing higher overall during the Asian trading session on Wednesday, with bitcoin winning big and ethereum seeing only minor gains.

As of midday in Asia, bitcoin gained 3.46 percent to about $7,377. That’s a gain of more than $200 since the start of the trading day in Asia. However, the price of bitcoin still remains below the record $7,600 level reached on Sunday.

The price of ethereum saw a minor gain of 0.73 percent to about $295 before midday in Asia. Overall, the virtual currency has been pointing higher since yesterday, when it fell sharply from about $302 to as low as $288, following news that some user funds on the ethereum network had been frozen due to a code issue.

About $280 million worth of ethereum were locked as a result of the freeze that was apparently caused by one person’s mistake, according to Business Insider. Ethereum had faced another security issue. Earlier this year, ethereum wallets were hacked and ether worth $30 million were stolen.

Litecoin’s price also dropped a slight 0.1 percent to $60.84 at midday, following big gains of close to 15 percent yesterday. As we have mentioned previously, litecoin was trading at a good point for medium to longer-term investors, and it has now traded up from the low end of the trading range it is in.

Also in the news, PayPal’s CEO Dan Schulman said that there will be more changes coming in fintech in the next five years than in the last 30 years, CCN reported. Schulman was quoted as saying:

“You have to, to serve these markets, re-imagine how money can be managed and moved because there’s going to be more change in the next five years in financial services than happened in the past 30.”

Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan- Nikkei 225 22,888 -0.22%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,431 0.54%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng 29,070 0.26%
South Korea-KOSPI 2,557 0.46%
Australia-ASX 200 6,021 0.12%
S&P 500 E-Mini Futures 2,583 -0.11%

 

Most major Asian equities markets were up on Wednesday morning’s session, as slowing trade data out of China as well as regional geopolitical tensions and trade dominates the headlines during Trump’s Asian tour.

On the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.54 percent to about 3,431 before midday. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index edged up 0.26 percent to around 29,070 before midday.

Fresh data out on Wednesday suggested that China’s trade slowed in October. The trade surplus came in at $38.2 billion, lower than the expected $39.1 billion. According to Bloomberg, experts said the numbers were “ok” and showed a more balanced trade.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.22 percent to 22,888 around midday on Wednesday.

In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.46 percent to around 2,557 shortly before midday. In Seoul, visiting US president Trump delivered a speech at the South Korean parliament, where the focus was more on North Korea than trade. Trade tensions are high between the US and South Korea, as Trump is pushing a “better, fairer” bilateral deal for the US.

Down under, the ASX 200 added 0.12 percent to 6,021.

The S&P 500 E-Mini Futures was down 0.11 percent to 2,583 at midday in Asia.

Markets are also watching Trump’s next stop to Beijing, where he is determined to push China to do more on North Korea and give the US more trade concessions. Experts say large policy changes are unlikely, but several trade deals, including deals on US beef and LNG exports to China may be agreed on.

Currencies

The Japanese yen gained 0.18 percent the US dollar at midday Wednesday to 113.76 per dollar.

The Chinese yuan was flat against the US dollar at 6.6377 per dollar.

The Australian dollar gained 0.02 percent on the dollar, changing hands at 1.3076 per dollar at midday.

Commodities

WTI Oil was up 0.11 percent to $56.98 per barrel.

Brent Crude gained 0.02 percent to $63.54 per barrel.

Gold was up 0.25 percent to $1,277 an ounce.

Business News across Asia

In Japan: No signs of change in monetary policy, despite the fact that the Bank of Japan has been failing to meet its inflation target of 2 percent. BOJ board member Yukitoshi Funo said on Wednesday that the BOJ should continue its easing programs.

Take away: Markets have been watching if BOJ could change its monetary policy stance given the missed inflation data, but it’s apparently not changing for now. 

In China, all eyes are on Trump’s visit starting today, with markets watching for clues about the future of the China-US economic and trade relations. Trump is bringing about 30 US business executives to China and a slew of business deals are expected to be signed.

Take away: Business deals to be signed, but no major policy change. Disputes between the two will likely persist.

Featured image from Pixabay.

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.