Material producers rally in Asian markets

Resource stocks lifted Asian shares off three-month lows yesterday after strong US manufacturing data raised hopes the global economic recovery was on a firmer footing. Asian stocks climbed, driving the MSCI Asia Pacific Index up the most in more than two weeks.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained one per cent to 117.39 in Tokyo, the biggest advance since January 14. The gauge sank three per cent last month, the most since February last year, on concern central banks from China to India will tighten monetary policy to curb inflation.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.8 per cent, the biggest advance among Asia Pacific benchmark indexes, after the country's central bank kept the overnight cash rate target at 3.75 per cent after three increases.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 1.6 per cent. The broader Topix added 1.6 per cent to 912.82. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.2 per cent to 20,287.31. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks so-called H shares of Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies, slid 0.2 per cent to 11,602.22. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 per cent.

A gauge of material producers on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 2.4 per cent, the most of 10 industry groups. BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, rose 3.2 per cent to A$40.46. Rio Tinto Group, the world's No3 mining company, advanced 5.3 per cent to A$71.01. Mitsubishi, a Japanese trading house which gets about 40 per cent of sales from metals and energy, rose 5.1 per cent to ¥2,249. Jiangxi Copper, China's biggest producer of the metal, gained 2.6 per cent to HK$15.96 in Hong Kong.

Mitsui Mining surged 5.1 per cent to ¥247. The firm doubled its income forecast for the year ending March 31 to ¥8 billion.

 

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