By Jamie McGeever
(Reuters) - A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever, financial markets columnist.
Asian markets look set to open on a fairly strong footing on Tuesday, supported by a global equity upswing and lower bond yields but tempered by caution surrounding the latest efforts from Beijing to support the Chinese stock market.
The Asian economic calendar is light, with only Japanese unemployment and the latest industrial production, trade and inflation figures from Vietnam on tap. Trading volumes should return to more normal levels with UK markets open again.
The reaction of Chinese stocks on Monday to new measures from Beijing to boost local markets at once emboldened the bull and bear cases - bulls will point to the rise of more than 1% for the best day in a month, while bears will note that stocks had risen 5.5%, so the close was extremely lackluster.
Despite the latest steps to boost confidence, foreign investors offloaded a net 8.2 billion yuan ($1.12 billion) of Chinese stocks via the Stock Connect on Monday, and have now been net sellers in 15 out of the last 16 sessions.
This helps explain why the yuan remains under sustained downward pressure, languishing around the weakest level of the year against the dollar near the key 7.30 level. A break below that will take the yuan into territory not recorded since late 2007.
Staying in China, a raft of top-tier companies this week release corporate earnings reports, including conglomerate CITIC, financials Bank of China and ICBC, and beleaguered property developer Country Garden.
Fellow real estate developer China Resources Land publishes half-year results on Tuesday, while Evergrande shares trade for a second day after Monday's long-awaited reopening. The firm's shares are virtually worthless.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo continues her visit to China, with investors watching closely how she treads the line between strengthening economic ties between the two countries and raising concerns over what Washington deems unfair business practices in a number of sectors.
Elsewhere in 'business meets politics', Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major Apple supplier Foxconn, on Monday announced a bid to be Taiwan's president in January elections, saying he wanted to unite the opposition and ensure the island did not become "the next Ukraine."
FX traders will be on heightened Japanese intervention alert after the yen slipped to a new low for the year on Monday near 147 per dollar. With the two-year U.S.-Japanese yield spread more than 500 basis points in the dollar's favor, the yen's weakness may be justified from a fundamental standpoint.
Japanese authorities seem less willing to intervene to support than they were last year when the yen was at these levels, but a further decline toward the 150 per dollar area could change their thinking.
Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Tuesday:
- Japan unemployment (July)
- Vietnam inflation (August)
- U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in China
(By Jamie McGeever; Editing by Josie Kao)