Asian Equities Mixed while MAS Keeps Policy Unchanged

Asian share markets got off to a hesitant start on Tuesday as Singapore disappointed expectations of policy easing while Wall Street was weighed down by worries over the corporate earnings season.  The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) kept its policy unchanged, contrary to the expectation of majority of 25 analysts polled by Reuters. The central bank’s announcement lifted the local dollar.

Still, moves in Asia were slight, with speculation high that China will continue to add to its stimulus steps following poor trade data. Figures for gross domestic product due Wednesday are forecast to show growth cooling to 7 percent.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was a fraction firmer at 514 and not far from September’s peak at 516. A break there would take it to ground last trod in early 2008.

Japan’s Nikkei dithered around 19,900 having struggled to sustain a break above the 20,000 barrier.  A tide of new liquidity has lifted Chinese stocks to seven-year highs with the CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite having climbed almost uninterrupted for more than five weeks.