HONG KONG, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Asian shares rebounded on
Wednesday as investors pinned hopes on China eventually
reopening its economy despite growing COVID lockdowns that
pushed its factory and services sector activity deeper into
Europe and Wall Street were also set to open higher with
FTSE futures and E-mini futures for the S&P 500 index
up 0.35% and 0.15%, respectively, at 0518 GMT.
MSCI's broadest gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan
reversed morning losses to gain 0.67%. At
current levels, the index is set to post its biggest monthly
gain since April 1999.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and China's benchmark
CSI300 Index also bounced back, rising 0.82% and 0.1%
respectively, as investors largely ignored an official survey
that showed China's factory activity contracted at a
faster-than-expected pace in November.
"Investors are looking beyond what happened in November. The
impact on the economy from the recent supportive measures to the
real economy including the property sector in China will
gradually emerge," said Redmond Wong, Greater China market
strategist at Saxo Markets in Hong Kong.
"Despite the surge in cases and recent protests, China has
not hardened its COVID approach and is continuing to fine-tune
its policy, which is encouraging to investors."
Chinese officials on Tuesday said the country would speed up
COVID-19 vaccinations for elderly people.
The vaccination push was seen as crucial to unwinding nearly
three years of strict curbs in the world's second-largest
economy that have eroded economic growth, disrupted the lives of
millions and sparked unprecedented protests this past weekend.
Most analysts, however, say reopening will be slow and
bumpy, weighing heavily on the economy into 2023.
"Headlines from China regarding COVID restrictions and
protests are causing jitters among investors. Although some
COVID easing measures are being considered, it may not be enough
to prevent further economic disruption," Anderson Alves, global
macro analyst at ActivTrades, however cautioned in a Wednesday
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.41% while Australia's
S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.35%.
Globally investors are watching for guidance on the U.S.
Federal Reserve's path of interest rate hikes.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak about the
economy and labour market at a Brookings Institution event on
Wednesday. A series of U.S. data concerning manufacturing,
inflation and jobs will also be released this week.
"This week will offer an interesting test for markets as we
have a look at the next important data macro data points out of
the U.S., especially the PCE inflation data and the Friday
November jobs report," said Wong of Saxo Markets.
The U.S. ISM manufacturing survey for the month on Thursday
is also expected to slip into contraction, Wong said.
Oil prices posted gains of more than 1% in Asian trade on
Wednesday on falling U.S. crude inventories and a lower
greenback, but concerns OPEC+ will leave output unchanged at its
upcoming meeting and weak China data limited gains.
Brent crude futures were up 1.05% to $83.90 per
barrel by 0533 GMT, while U.S. crude futures climbed
1.14% to $79.09 a barrel.
Spot gold rose 0.25%.
In currency markets, the dollar index declined 0.27%.
(Reporting by Kane Wu; Editing by Tom Hogue and Lincoln Feast.)