Most Asia markets rise as oil steadies; Nikkei up 3.5% – CNBC

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In the minutes of its most recent meeting, released Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia said it was concerned about the impact of a rising currency, but noted that low inflation could allow it to cut interest rates further. At the April 5 meeting, the RBA had kept rates steady at a record-low 2.0 percent.

The Japanese yen also pulled back, with the dollar/yen pair trading at 109.05 in the morning after touching levels under 108 in the previous session.

Major Japanese exporters saw a rebound in their stock prices, with automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda adding between 3.12 and 3.92 percent. Shares of Sony rebounded 6.01 percent. Shares of exporters, which typically benefit from a weaker yen, had tumbled in the previous session after reports that some manufacturers were affected by the earthquakes that struck Kyushu island in the south of Japan last week, causing sizable damage.

Reuters reported that Sony and Honda have said their affected production plants in the region will remain suspended for the time being.

In a media statement on Sunday, Toyota said it would suspend production on its vehicle assembly lines in stages, between April 18 and April 23, due to supply shortages resulting from the quakes.

Analysts didn’t expect broader damage to Japan’s economy.

Marcel Thieliant from Capital Economics said in a morning note, “the scale of damage does not appear huge and production shutdowns by major manufacturers should be reversed before long.”

But Thieliant added that in the short term, the impact of the disaster would be felt outside of the Kumamoto prefecture. In particular, he said the “shutdown at Toyota could reduce industrial output by up to 1.8 percent in April,” adding the impact will be larger if the shutdown persisted for longer.

Most Asia markets rise as oil steadies; Nikkei up 3.5% – CNBC}