Asia stocks fall for 4th day over Middle East and interest rate worries
Asia stocks fell on Monday, putting most indices on track for their fourth consecutive day of losses as tensions in the Middle East and the potential for higher global interest rates hit investor sentiment.
China’s CSI 300 declined 0.4 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.1 per cent and Japan’s Topix retreated 0.4 per cent. Hong Kong’s stock market was closed for a public holiday.
Concerns over the potential for conflict between Israel and Hamas to spread into a regional conflagration intensified over the weekend, with the US warning that its troops and other personnel in the Middle East face the risk of a “significant escalation” of attacks against them.
Centre-leftist Massa on course for first-round win in Argentina presidential election
Javier Milei, the radical libertarian economist seen as the frontrunner in Argentina’s presidential elections, appears to have come second in Sunday’s first round vote to Sergio Massa, economy minister in the ruling Peronist government.
With 82 per cent of votes counted, Massa has beaten pollsters’ expectations, winning 36 per cent, against 30.4 per cent for Milei’s La Libertad Avanza party (LLA) and 23.7 per cent for Patricia Bullrich of the mainstream centre-right opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio (JxC).
Massa and Milei now advance to a second round on November 19. The elimination of JxC, seen as the ideological middle ground between LLA and the Peronists, and investors’ favoured party, sets the stage for a polarising second-round campaign.
What to watch in Asia today
Japan: Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida is due to deliver a policy speech at an extraordinary parliamentary session and expected to announce an economic stimulus package.
Other events: Bond traders will be focused on the Reserve Bank of India as a $5bn currency swap matures. ICT Week 2023, which attracts business process and information technology outsourcing companies, opens in Tashkent. Azerbaijan hosts the first of three days of military exercises with Turkey.
Economic data: Singapore releases consumer price index figures for September. Taiwan publishes industrial production and jobless rates for the same month. Barclays analysts expect unemployment to rise to 3.5 per cent from 3.4 per cent in August.
Corporate data: Shenzhen-based state-invested technology company ZTE and Kyoto-based machinery maker Nidec release third-quarter earnings. Two south-east Asian lenders, Bank Negara Indonesia and Bank of the Philippine Islands, also announce results.
Markets: Stock exchanges in Hong Kong and New Zealand are closed for public holidays.
UK’s former leaders back cross-party approach to regional mayors
Former UK prime ministers and chancellors have joined forces to call for an end to decades of “chopping and changing” on regional policy, in a report that warns it has led to growing inequality and “40 years of failure”.
Labour former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Conservative leader John Major and former Tory chancellor George Osborne are among those calling for a more consistent cross-party approach.
Ed Balls, former Labour minister, led a Harvard university and King’s College London project on UK inequality, which included interviews with those who oversaw the country’s spluttering regional policy.
Read more about their suggestions here.
Right-wing populists perform strongly in Swiss parliamentary elections
Switzerland’s rightwing populists were set to achieve one of their strongest performances in parliamentary elections on Sunday as voters abandoned green politics amid fears over immigration and rising energy costs.
The hardline conservative Swiss Peoples’ party (SVP) was projected to secure 29.1 per cent of the vote in elections to the National Council, the lower house of parliament, after 95 per cent of district results were declared. This was on track to be the second-best result in the party’s recent history, after winning 29.4 per cent of the vote in 2015.
The result was a “clear slide to the right”, said Thierry Burkart, leader of the pro-business liberal FDP party. The liberals suffered their worst result, winning just 14.5 per cent. Voters had delivered a “signal and a mandate”, Burkart told Swiss TV.
Read more here.
The week ahead: Earnings season peaks while ECB and Israel set interest rates
The next seven days will — again — be dominated by uncertain events, most prominently the Israel-Hamas conflict and the US House Speaker debacle, as well as the fallout from Argentina’s elections.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank’s rate-setters meet in Athens on their annual EU getaway from Frankfurt and official statistical bodies produce a clutch of numbers, including preliminary US third-quarter GDP and the delayed UK labour market statistics.
The ECB’s Monetary Policy Committee members are expected to vote to hold rates, not least because of the uncertainty created by the Israel-Gaza conflict and its impact on oil prices, as Greece’s central bank governor Yannis Stournaras told the FT last week.
Read the full week ahead calendar here.