Asia-Pacific markets rose mainly as investors digested the Fed’s smaller quarterly hike

UBP: Signs of ‘sustained acceleration’ in Hong Kong despite economic contraction in 2022

UBP told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday that Hong Kong’s economy is “positioned to return to expansion” this year.

“We’re seeing signs of a consistent acceleration in January. So that’s good news,” said UBP chief Asia economist Carlos Casanova.

That’s despite new figures from the Hong Kong government showing the economy shrank 4.2% in the fourth quarter and four straight quarters of declines in 2022. Real GDP also decreased by 3.5% year-on-year.

“We are confident that we should be in a position to return to expansion in 2023, not just because of mainland tourists. [are] we’re coming back after we reopen, but … we have more supportive equity valuations in Hong Kong, which definitely helps sentiment,” Casanova said.

– Go Chiew Tong

Bitcoin is up nearly 4% near $24,000

Bitcoin Up 3.72% in the last 24 hours, prices on Coin Metrics showed, as investors continued to welcome a small 25 basis point interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.

The cryptocurrency briefly touched $24,000 and last traded at $23,986.65, its highest level since mid-August 2022.

Ether rose 5.77% and last traded at $1,677.13.

The US dollar index is fluctuating, hovering around 100

The dollar index It fell more than 0.3% to 100.92, the lowest level seen since April 2022, when it last dipped below 101, according to Refinitiv data.

The Dollar Index hit 101,036 overnight, its lowest level since trading at 100,473 on 4/22/2022.

The index is down 0.74% week-to-date, marking its fourth consecutive negative week for the first time since its 4-week streak ending on January 14, 2022.

– Chris Hayes, Gina Francolla, Jihye Lee

Australian building approvals rose 18.5%, beating expectations

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s overall approved building approvals rose 18.5%, well above the 1% increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

Approvals for private sector homes fell by 2.3%, while approvals for private sector buildings excluding houses increased by 56.6%, the ABS said in a release.

The value of non-residential buildings decreased by 1.7%, while the value of general buildings increased by 3%.

– Jihye Lee

South Korea’s consumer price index rose 5.2% in January

South Korea’s consumer price index rose 5.2% year-on-year in January.

The latest print shows an uptick from previous readings, after falling flat in December from 5.7% in October 2022 to 5.0% in November.

Compared to a year ago, the prices of products necessary for living increased by 6.1%, and fresh food products by 2.4%.

– Jihye Lee

Adani Enterprises withdraws IPO overnight

Investors will be closely watching shares of Adani Group companies after Adani Enterprises withdrew its $2.5 billion follow-on public offering overnight despite the sale being fully subscribed, in what many saw as a vote of confidence from investors.

The company cited “unprecedented circumstances and current market volatility” for the decision, adding that it is trying to return earnings to investors.

“Given these extraordinary circumstances, the Company’s board felt that it would not be morally right to proceed with the matter,” said founder Gautam Adani.

“Investors’ interest is paramount and therefore to protect them from potential financial losses, the Board has decided not to proceed with the FPO,” he said.

The move comes after Adani shares continued to trade lower in the trading session in Mumbai on Wednesday after Hindenburg Research announced its short position in Adani Group companies.

Adani Enterprises shares It was down 28% by Wednesday’s market close. Adani Port and Special Economic Zone decreased by 19%, Adani Green Energy 5.6%, while Adani Total Gas lost 10% Adani Transmission It closed 2.8% lower.

– Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: JPMorgan says Hong Kong stocks will rebound in February, names 5 stocks to own

JPMorgan named five stocks to own in February amid an expected rally in the broader Chinese stock market.

Wall Street bank strategists attributed last week’s sell-off in Hong Kong-listed stocks to profit-taking by some investors.

They said the broader stock market would “grind higher” this month, but would become “quality laggards in consumption as well as value circulation and growth spaces.”

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about the 5 stocks JPMorgan named.

– Ganesh Rao

CNBC Pro: Are you worried about Alibaba’s share price falling? Analysts have 4 alternative technology options

Alibaba’s shares have had a strong rally this year, although a recent drop in its share price has some investors worried.

But Wall Street’s favorite is far from the only game in town, with several stocks also offering exposure to the Chinese Internet sector.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

– Xavier Ong

The Federal Reserve raised 25 basis points but expects ‘continued’ hikes

The Federal Reserve raised overnight lending rates by 25 basis points, or 0.25 percentage point, in line with investor expectations. The increase brings the Fed’s target range to 4.5%-4.75%, the highest level since 2007.

However, the Fed said in its statement that the FOMC still sees a need for “sustained increases in the target range.” Market participants had hoped for some softening of the wording, but the unanimously approved statement kept it intact.

– Jeff Cox

Powell says don’t expect a rate cut in 2023

Jerome Powell said he does not expect the Fed to cut rates this year, as some senior strategists have predicted.

“Given our outlook, if our forecast is correct, I don’t see us cutting interest rates this year,” the Fed chairman said.

Powell also said he is “not concerned” that the bond market is targeting another cut before the break, as some market participants expect inflation to fall faster than the Fed.

“If we see inflation come down more quickly, that will certainly affect our policy,” Powell said.

– Jesse Pound

Powell says the economy is still in the “early stages” of deflation

Powell acknowledged that although labor data remained strong, there were positive signs in recent employment reports, but it was too early to tell.

“It’s good that the inflation we’ve seen so far has not come at the expense of the labor market,” Powell said, but added that the economy is still in the “early stages” of deflation.

According to him, the data showing the decline in commodity prices and the recent softening of the rental housing market is “a good story”.

However, he said the Fed “has not yet seen disinflation” in the core services portion of inflation, excluding housing.

– Jesse Pound

Gold hits intraday highs not seen since April

Gold reached a session high not seen since April.

The metal traded up to $1,956.60 during trading on Wednesday. This is the highest gold has traded since April 22, 2022, when it hit $1,957.80.

– Alex Harring, Gina Francolla

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