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Asian markets extend rally after US gains

According to latest data by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) average monthly inflows remained resilient increasing to Sh9.2 billion last year from Sh8.3billion in 2012/XINHUA FILE

Asian markets extend rally after US gains/AFP

HONG KONG, Jan 9- Asian shares climbed for a third straight day Friday following more advances on Wall Street, while bargain buying helped oil recover slightly from its latest sell off.

The euro edged up but struggled to make sizeable gains against the dollar, with the European Central Bank expected to unleash a vast easing programme at the same time as the US Federal Reserve plots an interest rate hike.

News that Chinese inflation for December edged up from the previous month but fell well short of the government’s target for the full year helped Shanghai stocks higher on hopes for a new round of government easing measures.

Tokyo gave back most of its early gains but ended marginally higher, adding 0.18 percent, or 30.63 points, to 17,197.73, while Seoul surged 1.05 percent, or 20.05 points, to 1,924.70 and Sydney rose 1.56 percent, or 84.15 points, to close at 5,465.6.

In late trade Shanghai rallied 2.12 percent and Hong Kong was up 1.28 percent.

Confidence has picked up over the past few days as analysts predict the ECB will launch a bond-buying scheme — known as quantitative easing (QE) — to kickstart the eurozone economy.

Expectations were fanned when data Wednesday showed consumer prices in the region had fallen for the first time since October 2009, during the financial crisis.

A pause in the downward spiral of oil prices also provided relief after a report showed US stockpiles had fallen last week, giving some hope that demand is picking up.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for February delivery edged up 44 cents to finish at $49.23 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for February rose 34 cents to $51.30.

– US jobs data in focus –

Eyes are now on a closely followed US jobs report due later in the day, with forecasts for another sharp rise in new posts, giving the Fed more ammunition to lift interest rates.

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The release Wednesday of minutes from the bank’s December meeting boosted spirits after it showed policymakers are unlikely to announce a hike until at least April.

In New York the Dow surged 1.84 percent, the S&P 500 jumped 1.79 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.84 percent. And markets in Frankfurt, Paris and Milan closed up more than 3 percent.

“When it comes to US economic reports there’s nothing more important to the Fed than labour market numbers,” said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.

“The December employment report is scheduled for release on Friday and the big question is whether the strength in November carried into December.”

On currency markets the euro, which slipped below $1.8 Thursday for the first time since 2009 bought $1.1809 Friday, compared with $1.1795 in New York Thursday afternoon. It also fetched 140.90 yen against 141.15 yen.

The dollar was at 119.30 yen Friday, compared with 119.65 yen in US trade.

In China the government said inflation came in at 1.5 percent in December, in line with forecasts and up from the five year low of 1.4 percent the previous month.

However, for the full year 2014, consumer inflation was 2.0 percent, down from 2.6 percent in 2013 and well below the government’s target of about 3.5 percent.

The soft inflation figures are the latest showing a slowdown in the world’s number two economy, with manufacturing, trade and investment all weak.

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Gold fetched $1,212.32 an ounce, compared with $1,206.35 on Thursday.


In other markets:

— Taipei fell 0.24 percent, or 22.45 points, to 9215.58.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fell 2.9 percent to Tw$134.0 while smartphone maker HTC rose 1.37 percent to Tw$148.0.

— Wellington rose 0.19 percent, or 10.79 points, to 5,584.84.

Fletcher Building was up 1.11 percent at NZ$8.21 while Meridian Energy eased 1.12 percent to NZ$1.76.

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