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Asian Stocks Up Despite Impending Fed Tapering and Unending China Evergrande Woes

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By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up on Thursday morning, with investors digesting the prospect that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin asset tapering as soon as November 2021.

China’s Shanghai Composite rose 1.05% while the Shenzhen Component was steady at 14,277.08 by 9:44 PM ET (1:44 AM GMT). China Evergrande Group's (HK:3333) debt crisis continues to be on investors’ radars, even as some concerns were eased after it issued a vaguely worded statement on a local bond interest payment. However, questions remain about the developer’s $300 billion of liabilities and the payment due on a dollar note.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 2.10%.

South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.56% and in Australia, the ASX 200 rose 1.07%.

Japanese markets were closed for a holiday, but the Bank of Japan kept its interest rate steady at -0.10% on Wednesday.

Shorter-maturity U.S. Treasury notes fell while longer-maturity debt trended upwards. Cash Treasuries trading will not take place on Thursday due to the holiday in Japan.

The Fed could begin scaling back asset purchases in November 2021 and complete the process by mid-2022, Chairman Jerome Powell said as the central bank handed down its latest policy decision on Wednesday. The Fed is likely to also begin hiking interest rates after completing the tapering process, he added.

Fears about China Evergrande, alongside the Fed’s shift away from its dovish stance, have led to market volatility about a slowing economic recovery from COVID-19. However, some investors remained optimistic.

“The Fed has got to be pleased that their communication on the longer way to asset tapering has avoided the dreaded fear of the tantrum,” BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK). senior portfolio manager for systematic fixed income Jeffrey Rosenberg told Bloomberg.

“The flatter curve is kind of an initial response. Yes, the curve is flatter, but you’ve got to squint to see that market reaction. This is a very good outcome for the Fed in terms of signaling their intent to give the market information well ahead of the asset tapering decision.”

Powell, Fed Governor Michelle Bowman and Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida will discuss the economic recovery from COVID-19 on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England hands down its policy decision later in the day.

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