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RBNZ Leaves OCR Unchanged, Unveils New Lending Program; Alibaba Launches Annual Singles’ Day

The New Zealand Dollar is edging higher early Wednesday after the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) left its Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 0.25%, in line with market expectations.

Policymakers also unveiled a funding for lending program (FLP), which is aimed at lowering interest costs by offering cheap funding to banks. The FLP programme for banks will be launched in December.

Additionally, the central bank left its Government bond buying cap at $100 billion.

Asian Stocks Extend Gains as Vaccine Hopes Support Global Reopening

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes rose on Wednesday, following a mixed performance on Wall Street, as hopes for a successful coronavirus vaccine lifted expectations of a swift reopening of the global economy, which would help the region’s heavily trade-dependent markets.

In the early trade, Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.05% with energy stocks and miners boosted by higher crude and commodity prices.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index rose around 0.6% in early trade ahead of the country’s central bank meeting.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.1%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.09%.

Australian Shares Gain for Fifth Session

Australian shares rose for a fifth straight session on Wednesday following gains in financial and energy stocks.

Shares of travel-related companies and airlines extended gains on swifter-than-expected economic recovery hopes. Qantas Airways, Sydney Airport Holdings and Webjet Ltd climbed.

The energy index jumped more than 3%, hitting its highest since August 20 after crude gained overnight.

Australia’s top independent gas producer Woodside Petroleum rose after it reaffirmed that its Scarborough and Pluto Train 2 liquefied natural gas project is on track for a final investment decision in the second half of 2021.

Rising more than 2%, financial stocks hit an eight-month high. The country’s largest Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbed as much as 2.8%, even as its first-quarter cash profit fell 16%.

Miners jumped over 1% on higher iron ore prices. Mining giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto gained nearly 2% each.

Gold stocks, however, slipped 2.3%, with heavyweights Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining trading lower.

Alibaba Launches China’s First Post-Covid Singles’ Day

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd kicked off its annual Singles’ Day mega-shopping event on Wednesday, looking to cash in on consumers itching for discounts as the economy rebounds from the COVID-19 crisis.

This year’s online shopping extravaganza also comes a week after Alibaba lost almost $76 billion (54.4 billion pounds) of its market value, following China’s suspension of the $37 billion listing of Ant Group, the financial technology firm Alibaba owns a third of.

Alibaba first launched the shopping event in 2009 and has made it the world’s biggest online sales festival, eclipsing Cyber Monday in the United States. Last year, it recorded $38.4 billion in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) on the day.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.


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