Asian stock markets rallied Friday after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced the widely anticipated bond-buying program aimed at lowering the struggling euro zone countries' borrowing costs.
Japanese benchmark Nikkei surged 2.20 percent or 191.08 points to 8,871.65, Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 3.09 percent or 592.86 points to 19,802.16 and Chinese Shanghai Composite climbed 3.70 percent or 75.84 points to 2,127.76 while South Korean KOSPI Composite surged 2.57 percent and India's BSE Sensex gained 1.88 percent.
At a press conference in Frankfurt Thursday, ECB President Mario Draghi unveiled a new bond-buying plan called "Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT)" aimed at lowering the short-term borrowing costs of the most debt-strapped countries like Italy and Spain. The announcement triggered a global rally and sent the U.S. stocks to multi-year highs.
The OMT will focus on bonds maturing within three years in countries implementing approved fiscal austerity measures. There is no exact limit for purchases it can make and would not target specific bond yields. The program is tied to strict conditions and will possibly include those nation's already under rescue which are close to reentering the bond market. Meanwhile, the ECB left its key interest rate unchanged at 0.75 percent, disappointing those who were hoping on further stimulus for the slowing euro zone economy.
The better-than-expected U.S. private employment report also added to the sentiment. Payroll firm ADP Employer Services said the U.S. private sector added 201,000 jobs in August, up from upwardly revised 173,000 jobs added in July and also topped Thomson Reuter's expectation of 140,000 new jobs.
"The ECB's action has been priced in after earlier reports and contained nothing new, but there was no 'selling the fact', probably because currencies followed the rally in stocks. It appears markets are warming up to a risk-on mode. Markets may be sensing that while it takes time to deliver, things will get done eventually. Also, firm U.S. data put great emphasis on the payrolls data today," Hiroshi Maeba, head of FX trading Japan for UBS in Tokyo, told Reuters.
Japanese Nikkei surged, led by gains from exporter companies' shares after the ECB announcement. Canon Inc. surged 3.23 percent and Toshiba Corp. rallied 5.98 percent while Mazda Motor Corp. surged 4.49 percent.
Financials went up across the region. Daiwa Securities Group Inc surged 4.26 percent and Nomura Holdings Inc gained 4.14 percent in Tokyo while HSBC Holdings Plc gained 2.53 percent in Hong Kong.
Chinese shares rallied on news that regulators had approved another batch of infrastructure projects which should stabilize and reaccelerate the growth in the world's second largest economy. Sany Heavy Industry Co Ltd rallied 9.97 percent and Taiyuan Heavy Industry Co climbed 9.86 percent in Shanghai while and Bank of China gained 2.17 percent in Hong Kong.
"China's NDRC approved plans to build over 2000 km of roads, nine sewage treatment facilities, two waterways, five ports and warehouse projects. This comes a day after approvals for subway projects in 18 cities and three inter-city rail projects were announced. The approvals were granted between April and August, which suggests that they will start impacting the economy already this year," said a note from Credit Agricole.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd surged 4.18 percent and Hyundai Motor Co gained 3.30 percent.
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