World Economy

Asian Shares Poised for Best Month

Asian Shares Poised for Best MonthAsian Shares Poised for Best Month

Asian shares edged higher on Friday and were on track for their biggest monthly rise since January 2012, as global central banks kept stimulative policies intact and many hinted at further steps to re-energize their economies.

That has helped soothe investors’ fears of the prospect of higher borrowing costs in the United States as the Federal Reserve prepares to tighten rates, possibly by year-end.

European shares were set to open on the bright side, with financial spreadbetters expecting Britain’s FTSE 100 to open as much as 0.3% higher, Germany’s DAX 0.6%, and France’s CAC 40 0.4%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.1%, poised to lose 2.3% for the week but gain more than 7% for October.

The Nikkei stock index slipped briefly after the Bank of Japan stood pat and then regained its composure to end up 0.8% at a more than two-month high, buoyed by a media report that the government is considering a supplementary budget of over $25 billion.

The Nikkei rose 1.4% for the week and jumped 9.7% for the month, the best monthly gain in two years.

Markets in China edged higher, while shares of baby goods-related companies outperformed after China’s ruling Communist Party said on Thursday it would ease family planning restrictions to allow two children for all couples.

China’s rate cut last week has also supported sentiment at home and aboard as Beijing steps up efforts to shore up a faltering economy.

The dollar extended losses after the BOJ policy decision, slipping to an intraday low of 120.29, and was last down about 0.1% at 120.99 yen. The euro’s trend was similar, with the single currency up abut 0.1% against the dollar at $1.0988 but down about 1.7% for the month in which European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi took a surprisingly dovish stance that suggested further monetary easing steps were possible in December.

Crude oil futures slipped after the mixed US economic data exacerbated fears of oversupply and as investors took profits following a rally, but they were still on track to end a volatile week with gains.

US crude CLc1 was down 0.6% at $45.77 a barrel, but was up 2.6% for the week and 1.5 for the month, while Brent LCOc1 slipped about 0.4% to $48.59, up 1.2% for the week and 0.4% for October.