Markets advance as weak US data soothes taper worries

LONDON (AFP/APP): Global stock markets rose Monday after a big miss on US jobs creation last month fuelled optimism that the Federal Reserve will hold fire on tapering its massive financial support programme.

Asian and European equities also rose before this week’s eurozone interest rate decision, but US markets remain closed for a holiday.

Oil fell after Saudi Arabia slashed the prices it charges Asian clients, just days after OPEC and other major producers agreed last week to press ahead with lifting output.

Aluminium prices soared to a new ten-year peak at $2,775.50 per tonne as a military coup in major bauxite producer Guinea further disrupted tight global supplies. Bauxite is a key component of aluminium.

“Stocks throughout Europe and Asia are heading higher after Friday’s weak payrolls figure,” said IG analyst Joshua Mahony.

“While the US recovery is clearly on unstable footing, it also brings hope that tapering could be delayed.”

The US economy added far fewer jobs than expected in August as businesses grappled with the Delta wave of Covid-19, data showed before the weekend.

Employment rose by 235,000 jobs last month, or about one third of the expected gain.

The world’s biggest economy has faltered in the face of the Delta wave of Covid-19, which sent infection rates around the world spiking in recent weeks.

Fed boss Jerome Powell indicated last month that officials would begin reducing support for the US economy, which has been a key pillar of the economic and market surge for more than a year, by the end of 2021 — but would take it slowly.

He did not provide a timetable, and Friday’s jobs data was considered a crucial guide to when it would begin, with some saying a well-below-par figure would mean policymakers would not move until November or December.

Back in the eurozone, the European Central Bank will convene Thursday for an interest rate decision, with markets hoping for hints when the institution might start easing its own vast pandemic-era stimulus.

Policymakers will be anxious that eurozone inflation surged to three percent in August as economic recovery gathered steam, overshooting the ECB’s new two-percent target.

Asia built on last week’s broadly positive performance, with star performer Tokyo surging 1.8 percent.

The Nikkei 225 index is now closing in on levels not seen in more than 30 years.
The gains came after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he would not stand for re-election to lead his Liberal Democratic Party in a vote this month, effectively stepping down from the premiership.

The news fanned speculation that his successor will push for a big-spending pandemic stimulus package to kickstart the world’s third-largest economy.