Asian stock markets rise after Bank of Japan presents more upbeat view on economy
In Russia, the rouble has strengthened 3.4% this morning, going below 60 against the dollar for the first time in days. Russia’s finance minister Anton Siluanov confirmed his ministry had been selling foreign currency. He also said the rouble would definitely firm early next year.
Meanwhile, the Russian central bank announced that it did not intervene in the markets on Wednesday. It has spent more than $80bn defending the rouble this year.
China has revised the size of its economy by $308.8bn – adding the equivalent of Malaysia’s economic output. This makes the debt of the world’s second-largest economy look smaller by comparison.
China’s GDP was 58.8 trillion yuan in 2013, according to the results of a nationwide economic census. That’s 3.4% larger than before. Malaysia’s GDP was $312bn last year.
The FTSE has opened nearly 50 points higher at 6512.11, a 0.7% rise.
As mentioned earlier, German consumers are also more confident about their economy.
The monthly survey by the GfK market research group shows consumer confidence rising to 9 points for January from 8.7 points in December. This is the highest reading since December 2006 when it hit 9.1 points.
Consumers assume the economic weakness in Germany is only temporary and the domestic economy will return to the growth path in the next few months.
The Bank of Japan held off announcing fresh measures (after unveiling a big expansion of its asset-buying programme in October) and offered a more upbeat outlook, raising hopes the third-largest economy could pull out of recession soon. Japan slipped into recession in the last quarter.
Wrapping up a two-day meeting, the central bank said:
Japan’s economy has continued to recover moderately as a trend ... (while) overseas economies -- mainly advanced economies - have been recovering, albeit with a lacklustre performance still seen in part. In this situation, exports have shown signs of picking up.
Business sentiment has generally stayed at a favourable level, although some cautiousness has been observed.
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The Santa rally is here. The Bank of Japan has struck a more optimistic view of the economy which bodes well for global growth, fuelling a rally in Asian stocks. Japan’s Nikkei gained 2.4% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.3%, following big gains on Wall Street yesterday. The Dow Jones scored a 400 point gain as concerns over a Fed interest rate hike and lower oil prices eased.
Biscuit-baking is in full force at this time of year. I’ve been making a veritable forest of these gingerbread trees – they are more exciting than shop-bought biscuits and cost considerably less.
For optimum sticky gingerbread, be sure not to roll the dough too thin and keep an eye on the cooking time – too little and you’ll end up with raw gingerbread, too long and you’ll lose the bread in the gingerbread. The chopped stem ginger adds to the flavour and stickiness.
The owners of Hellman’s mayonnaise have dropped a lawsuit claiming another company should stop selling a product under the name Just Mayo because it does not contain eggs.
The Unilever company originally filed suit against Hampton Creek, a small California company, on the basis that the name Just Mayo amounted to false advertising because being egg-free meant it could not be defined as mayonnaise.