Barring Australia, Asian stock market indices, including China's Shanghai Composite Index, were trading higher on Friday (26 February). This followed positive comments by Zhou Xiaochuan, China's central bank chief, at the G20 summit.
Currently ongoing in Shanghai is the meeting of the Group of 20, the international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. At this meeting, Xiaochuan said Beijing still had the room and tools to support its economy. "While the reform direction is clear, managing the reform pace will need windows (of opportunity) and conditions.... The pace will vary but the reform will be set to continue and the direction is not changed," he said.
David Cannington, a senior economist at ANZ, said: "Amidst market turbulence there is a call to arms for the G20 to get the global economy back on track. While we can hope for a substantive policy prescription, it's a forlorn one. There is simply too much self-interest globally and that dominates group interest."
Indices in Asia traded as follows on 26 February at 5.29am GMT:
|China||Shanghai Composite Index||2,749.06||Up||0.28%|
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||19,140.03||Up||1.33%|
The bullish trend in Asian stock markets followed a positive close overnight on the Wall Street and the Footsie. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 16,697.29, up 1.29%, the FTSE 100 closed higher by 2.48% at 6,012.81 on 25 February.
Stephen Innes, a senior trader for Asia Pacific at OANDA, however thought that the bullish nature of the markets would not last. "Despite this glimmer of optimism that we are seeing leading up to this weekend's G-20 summit, the likelihood of a coordinated policy pact is doubtful. Instead, the big fear is that whatever sliver of optimism investors currently have in an otherwise dreary outlook will be further eroded after the summit. So we could be in for some messy markets next week," Innes added.
Among commodities, crude, which reacted negatively on Thursday to recent statements by Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi, continued to decline. WTI crude oil was trading 0.09% lower at $33.04 (£23.61, €29.86) a barrel, while Brent was down 0.48% at $35.12 a barrel at 5.47am GMT on 26 February.