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Asia Stocks Feel Rate Pain and the Dollar on a Roll

Asia Stocks Feel Rate Pain and the Dollar on a Roll

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Asia stocks feel rate pain dollar on a roll

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.5 percent on Thursday, capping off a two day slide that has battered bonds worldwide and sent the dollar on an upswing against most currencies.

Fears that the Federal Reserve may be planning for a wave of rate hikes have driven up the dollar, immobilizing China's yuan which fell to its weakest level since May 2008.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong's stock market is feeling the impact of higher borrowing costs in the city. On Friday, major commercial banks raised their prime rates by 12.5 basis points following four rate increases issued by HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) since March this year.

The city's benchmark index, comprised of 73 stocks, has declined into the red and is trading at a record 27 per cent discount to book value. A series of issues such as China's economic inertia and tech crackdown, Covid-19 border closures, and local currency depreciation have made it harder than ever for investors to search for bargains.

As is common throughout Asia, stocks declined on Monday following disappointing trade data from China. A lackluster manufacturing survey from that nation, along with other data points, will keep investors on edge this week.

Shanghai

Shanghai has rapidly emerged as an essential center of commerce, culture and communications in China. It serves as the driving force behind Chinese industry growth and is a formidable rival to Hong Kong as the country's economic and commercial powerhouse.

Lu Xun, Mao Dun and Shi Zhecun were prominent writers from Shanghai during the early years of modern Chinese literature.

Shanghai during the early part of the 20th century became a flashpoint for intellectual conflict between socialists and more romantic and aesthetic writers, particularly during China's Cultural Revolution when many writers were banned or censored.

Chinese is a major component of Shanghai's identity and it continues to be widely spoken at home by its 25 million residents. Furthermore, visitors often come here for its vibrant bar scene and nightlife.

Another draw of the city is its striking Western architecture. The Bund, a long strip along the western bank of the Huangpu River, features two dozen majestic Western buildings in various styles that give it an air of "otherness" not found elsewhere in China. This unique feature gives Beijing an air of mystery that other parts of China cannot match.

Shanghai has seen a marked growth in the number of visitors from outside China who seek out opportunities in an increasingly modernized economy. As a result, both its population and social problems have become more acute.

The influx of these migrants has created cultural issues, as new residents discover the city's long-standing traditions and customs don't suit their way of living. This has resulted in an increase in anti-migrant sentiment and xenophobia - particularly among locals accustomed to a higher standard of living.

Seoul

Seoul is a vast metropolis boasting modern skyscrapers, cutting-edge subways and an exciting pop culture. It also has Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets that combine to make it one of Asia's leading cities.

Gangnam and Digital Media City are internationally-renowned hubs of commerce and technology, boasting 15 companies on the Fortune Global 500 list. As such, it has become a popular tourist destination, especially for its shopping and dining offerings.

As a global center of design, Seoul boasts numerous iconic architectural landmarks such as Dongdaemun Design Plaza, 63 Building, Lotte World Tower and Trade Tower. Furthermore, many major manufacturers operate here including Samsung, LG and Hyundai-Kia.

Arcadis has rated Seoul the second most livable city globally and Asia's fastest-growing economy.

Recently, Korea has emerged as a major hub of technology and manufacturing, boasting significant presences in information technology, electronics, and other assembly-type industries. It is home to some of the largest technology firms globally such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai-Kia.

South Korea has strong economic ties to India and Southeast Asia, yet these connections have not been particularly prominent in South Korean diplomacy in the past, particularly when it comes to security cooperation.

The National Security Policy (NSP) is an integral element of South Korea's middle power strategy and an effort to diversify its regional relationships in light of China's rise. Through the NSP, South Korea seeks to enhance ties with India and Southeast Asia and elevate them to greater strategic significance.

Singapore

Singapore is one of the most prosperous cities in Asia, and its economy continues to expand rapidly. It boasts an accommodating regulatory environment and a low unemployment rate; further fuelling this nation's economic development is immigration.

Singapore is a haven for shoppers, boasting luxury brands in high-end malls. Additionally, it serves as an important cultural crossroads, with Singaporean traditions blending those of China, Malaysia and India.

Singapore, despite its prosperity, has faced difficulties in recent years. Its economic growth slowed in 2019, and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has caused concern about both health care and economic security for the nation.

Singapore's economy is primarily service-based, though it also produces significant amounts of electronics and chemicals. Exports account for more than a fifth of its GDP, making Singapore an important supplier of raw materials and consumer goods to other markets.

The nation of Nepal boasts an economic freedom score of 84.4, the highest among 39 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It is led by the People's Action Party whose policies encourage business activity and international trade.

Singapore, a key partner of the United States in Southeast Asia, has an established history of military and political cooperation. Additionally, Singapore has deep-seated ties with China.

Singapore's robust currency has made the nation a haven for investors during times of market volatility, according to Saktiandi Supaat, regional head of forex research and strategy at Maybank. "Singapore's foreign exchange reserves, current account surplus and well-managed currency policy make Singapore an attractive option," she noted.

Though the Singapore dollar has a reputation as a safe haven, it will not replace the Japanese yen anytime soon. It lacks liquidity compared to other currencies like the Australian dollar or British pound and could depreciate more in times of global recession.

Tokyo

The broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) declined 0.5% last week after losing 2.6% the week before. The US dollar retraced 61.2% of its rally this year and MSCI's broadest index in Asia was flat on a weaker outlook with China's manufacturing surveys and the National People's Congress set to commence this weekend.

Tokyo is the original mega-city, boasting a population of 32.5 million that's more than 50 percent larger than any of the next largest metropolitan areas worldwide. On the list of 20 largest cities globally, Tokyo stands taller than Seoul, Mexico City, New York or Mumbai combined!

Tokyo has been a major cultural and political centre for much of its long history. Originally named Edo, the city reached its peak during the Tokugawa shogunate and was officially renamed Tokyo in 1868 when Emperor Meiji returned to the capital.

Tokyo is a city that celebrates both innovation and tradition. It boasts historic shrines and temples, an extensive performing arts culture such as Noh and Kabuki, as well as being the hub for new trends in fashion, music, art, technology and animation.

Tokyo is renowned as a cultural hotspot, where creators come together to collaborate and shape Japan's arts scene. Recently, the Tokyo government released a 2022 plan for its culture sector which addresses challenges it faces and how best it can grow in the future.

One of my favourite parts of the city is its subway system, which has its own charming style that I find delightful to be amongst. Every time you board, a cheerful tune plays to pass the time while providing entertainment for passengers. Plus, it's an ideal spot to observe how people live their lives!

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