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Asian Stocks Wilt As North Korea Nuke Test Clobbers Risk Appetite

Asian Stocks Wilt As North Korea Nuke Test Clobbers Risk Appetite

David Cottle, Analyst


Talking Points

  • The Japanese Yen gained while equity markets generally struggled Monday
  • News of another, more powerful nuclear test by Pyongyang soured the mood
  • The Australian Dollar was steady as September’s monetary-policy day looms

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Demand for perceived haven assets drove up gold and the Japanese Yen Monday as stocks were pressured by North Korea’s nuclear belligerence yet again.

Pyongyang said on Sunday that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb over the weekend. The reaction to such news is now broadly set.The Nikkei 225 duly fell, dropping 1% by the close. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.9% but looks set to end the session off its lows. Markets in that country have been apt to quickly retrace losses incurred following increased tensions on its Northern border. Australia’s ASX slipped 0.4% with only mainland Chinese stocks bucking the trend and ending in the green.

In the foreign-exchange space the Japanese Yen headed higher against the US Dollar, although the greenback did make gains on the Korean won. The Australian Dollar was steady before a central bank monetary policy decision coming up on Tuesday. The Reserve Bank of Australia is not expected to alter record-low interest rates but, if it takes another chance to try and talk the currency down, or indeed if it doesn’t, the markets will still have lessons to learn.

Crude oil prices were volatile as investors had to keep one eye on Pyongyang and another on the US Gulf coast where the damage from Hurricane Harvey is still being assessed. There have been reports that energy infrastructure at least has not suffered has badly as it might. In any case US benchmark crude rose, although international Brent was a little weaker. We’re not talking above much movement in either direction, however- 20 cents or so in both cases.

Gold prices hit ten-month highs in the wake of this latest bout of general risk aversion.

US markets will be closed Monday for the Labor Day break but the European time zone will bring the UK’s construction sector Purchasing Managers Index along with producer price numbers from the euro area

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter: @DavidCottleFX

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.