SYDNEY, RAW – Asian shares have firmed on Monday while the dollar wavered after the anxiously awaited May US payrolls report showed the recovery on track but not so hot that it might bring forward a policy tapering from the Federal Reserve.
Investors were curious to see how shares of major tech firms would react to the G7’s agreement on a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15 per cent, though getting the approval of the whole G20 could be a tall order.
So far, the reaction was muted with both Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures little changed.
Also of interest will be the tussle over US President Joe Biden’s proposed $US1.7 trillion ($A2.2 trillion) infrastructure plan with the White House rejecting the latest Republican offer.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.3 per cent and looked to break three sessions of losses. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.0 per cent to touch its highest in almost a month, and South Korea gained 0.7 per cent.
While the 559,000 rise in US payrolls missed forecasts it was still a major relief after April’s shockingly weak report, while the jobless rate at 5.8 per cent showed there was still a long way to go to reach the Fed’s goal of full employment.
“The data was perfect for a goldilocks type outlook for risk: not too hot to bring in fears of a faster Fed taper, and not too cold to worry about the outlook for the recovery,” said NatWest Markets strategist John Briggs.
“This caused a weaker USD, better stocks, reinforced the earlier bid in commodities, and boosted emerging markets.”
Attention will now turn to the US consumer price report on Thursday where the risk is of another high number, though the Fed still argues the spike is transitory.
Briggs suspected Fed officials might open the door to talking about tapering at the June policy meeting, with the start coming in early 2022 and a rate hike not until 2024.
The European Central Bank holds its policy meeting on Thursday and is widely expected to maintain its stimulus measures with tapering a distant prospect.
Yields on US 10-year notes were a fraction higher at 1.567 per cent, after diving 7 basis points on Friday and back to the bottom of the trading range of the last three months.
That drop, combined with an improvement in risk appetite, put the dollar on the defensive. It was last at 90.100 against a basket of currencies, having slipped from a top of 90.629 on Friday.
The euro was holding at $US1.2170 ($A1.5721), after bouncing from a three-week trough of $US1.2102 ($A1.5634) on Friday, while the dollar was back at 109.52 yen from a peak of 110.33.
The pullback in the dollar helped gold steady at $US1,890 ($A2,442) an ounce, up form a low of $US1,855 ($A2,396) on Friday.
Oil prices steadied after Brent topped $US72 ($A93) a barrel for the first time since 2019 last week as OPEC+ supply discipline and recovering demand countered concerns about a patchy global COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
Brent was up 6 cents at $US71.92 ($A92.91) a barrel, while US crude added 9 cents to $US69.71 ($A90.05) per barrel.