Asia Markets

Japanese stocks jump as Bank of Japan enhances monetary policy easing; oil prices drop

Key Points
  • Stocks in Asia Pacific rose on Monday.
  • The Bank of Japan of Monday announced on Monday an enhancement of its monetary policy easing measures to combat the hit on Japan's economy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Oil prices dropped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, as international benchmark Brent crude futures fell 1.59% to $21.10 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 8.09% to $15.57 per barrel.

Stocks in Asia Pacific rose on Monday, as the Bank of Japan announced its decision to enhance monetary policy easing.

Japanese stocks led gains among the region's major markets,  the Nikkei 225 rose 2.71% to close at 19,783.22 as shares of robot maker Fanuc soared 11.95% following the release of the firm's financial results for the year ended March 2020. The Topix index also advanced 1.83% to finish its trading day at 1,447.25.

The Japanese central bank announced a series of measures on Monday to combat the hit on Japan's economy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These included the increase in purchases of commercial paper and corporate bonds and further active buying of Japanese government bonds and treasury discount bills.

The BoJ also kept the short-term policy interest rate target at -0.1% as well as a pledge to keep 10-year Japanese government bond yields around 0%.

Stephen Davies, CEO of Javelin Wealth Management, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Monday that the Japanese central bank's moves were "very much parroting the line established" by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which itself has taken significant steps in an attempt to quell market fears.

"The do-what-it-takes mantra is very firmly in place across the globe," Davies said. "That's definitely helped stabilize the fixed income markets over the course of the last month which is pretty positive, it remains to be seen what positive effects that will have on the broader economy."

Mainland Chinese stocks were up on the day, with the Shanghai composite rising 0.25% to about 2,815.49 while the Shenzhen composite fractionally higher at approximately 1,738.05. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index also jumped about 1.9%, as of its final hour of trading.

The moves on the mainland came on the back of an earlier data release which showed industrial profits in China plummeting 34.9%, according to the country's Bureau of Statistics. Economic data from China, which was heavily impacted by the coronavirus, have been watched for signs of recovery as the country returned to production following an extended lockdown period earlier in the year.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi added 1.79% to close at 1,922.77. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 also rose 1.5% to end its trading day at 5,321.40.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index advanced 1.81%.

Oil prices plummet

Oil prices were also watched following recent volatility as concerns rose over weak demand as a result of the economic hit from the global coronavirus outbreak.

In the afternoon of Asian hours on Monday, as international benchmark Brent crude futures fell 5.27% to $20.31 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 13.93% to $14.58 per barrel.

"Unless there is a V-shaped economic recovery in the second half of this year, something we are not inclined to forecast, oil prices are likely to remain low for a considerable period," Taimur Baig, chief economist at Singapore's DBS Bank, wrote in a Monday note. "That will to be of limited comfort for Asian economies, as their outlook is dependent on global demand."

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.872 after an earlier high of 100.319.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.15 per dollar after touching an earlier low of 107.62. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6459 after seeing levels below $0.63 last week.