Asia stocks rise; IMF downgrades region's 2021 economic growth forecast

Markets
  • Shares in Asia-Pacific were higher in Wednesday morning trade.
  • China is set to announce its latest benchmark lending rate at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday.
  • The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday slashed its 2021 economic growth forecast for Asia.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific advanced in Wednesday morning trade following an overnight rise on Wall Street as the S&P 500 notched its fifth straight day of gains.

Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 0.72% in early trading while the Topix index edged 0.63% higher. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.52%.

Shares in Australia edged higher, with the S&P/ASX 200 gaining 0.91%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.29% higher.

Investors will watch for moves in the Chinese property space after Reuters reported Tuesday that debt-ridden developer China Evergrande Group shelved plans to sell a majority stake in its property services business.

Looking ahead, China is set to announce its latest benchmark lending rate at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday. Majority of traders and analysts in a snap Reuters poll expect no change in both the one-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) as well as the five-year LPR.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday slashed its 2021 economic growth forecast for Asia, now expecting the region to grow by 6.5% this year. That compared against the IMF's April forecast for a 7.6% expansion.

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Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 rose 0.74% to 4,519.63 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 198.70 points to 35,457.31. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.71% to 15,129.09.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.807 following a recent bounce from below 93.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.52 per dollar, weaker than levels below 114 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7475 following yesterday's climb from below $0.745.

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