Asia-Pacific markets mixed as IMF raises global economic growth forecast


SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday morning trade as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its growth forecast for the global economy this year.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.63% in early trade while the Topix index gained 0.61%. South Korea’s Kospi also advanced 0.78%.

Shares in Australia dipped, with the S&P/ASX 200 declining 0.4%. Australia’s fourth quarter consumer price index is expected to be out at around 8:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.14% higher.

In its latest World Economic Outlook published Tuesday, the IMF now expects the global economy to grow 5.5% this year. That’s a 0.3 percentage point increase from October’s forecasts.

“Much now depends on the outcome of this race between a mutating virus and vaccines to end the pandemic, and on the ability of policies to provide effective support until that happens,” the IMF’s Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said in a blog post.

Global coronavirus virus infections recently topped the 100 million mark, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. That comes as new and more contagious virus mutations circulate and send infection rates surging.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.17 following an earlier decline from levels above 90.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.61 per dollar, weaker than levels below 103.5 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7755 after rising from levels around $0.768 yesterday.

What’s on tap:

  • Australia: Consumer price index for the fourth quarter at 8:30 a.m. HK/SIN
  • China: Industrial profits for December at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Silvia Amaro and Sara Salinas contributed to this report.



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