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Confidence returns to Asia markets after global rally

43A wave of confidence swept through Asian markets Wednesday, led by a five percent surge in Tokyo and extending the previous day’s broad global advance, raising hopes that recent turmoil may be coming to an end.

With investors in a risk-on mood, assets considered safe bets retreated, with the yen sagging against the dollar and euro, the Australian dollar recovering from six-year lows and emerging market currencies also getting much-needed support.

The surges will come as a relief to global markets, which have been hammered by intense volatility in recent weeks by long-running concerns about China’s economy as well as the Federal Reserve’s plans to increase interest rates.

In morning trade Japan’s Nikkei was up 5.67 percent by lunch — having sank more than two percent Tuesday — Hong Kong added 2.68 percent while Shanghai and Seoul were more than two percent higher. Sydney jumped 1.5 percent and Taipei surged three percent.

Shanghai and Hong Kong led a regional rally Tuesday despite data showing another slump in Chinese trade, with experts suggesting Beijing stepped in to support mainland shares. The figures also raised the prospect China would unveil further economy-boosting measures, following five interest rate cuts since November.

The baton was then taken up in Europe where London, Frankfurt and Paris all tacked on more than one percent, helped by data showing the eurozone grew more than expected in April-June. Then, in New York all three major indexes surged more than two percent.

“Expectations for more policy action from China and strength in the European economy saw the return of risk,” Chihiro Ohta, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities, told Bloomberg News.

“At long last, we may be seeing a real rebound.”

Currency markets also saw traders take a risk-on attitude, with the dollar at 120.29 yen from 119.82 Tuesday in New York, while the euro was at 134.64 yen from 134.22 yen.

The yen had been climbing in recent weeks as dealers moved into safer investments to protect them from the global market convulsions.

Also, the “Aussie” dollar was at 70.52 US cents against 69.75 cents late Tuesday in Tokyo and is well up from the six-year lows around 69.00 cents plumbed at the end of last week

Emerging currencies enjoyed a rare advance, with the South Korean won up 0.8 percent against the greenback, the Indian rupee 0.4 percent higher and Malaysia’s ringgit 0.7 percent stronger.

However, there remains uncertainty over the Fed’s plans for raising interest rates, with the China crisis muddying the waters for bank policymakers as they prepare for a meeting next week

Chris Weston, chief markets strategist in Melbourne at IG, warned further market ructions if a hike is announced, which could drag on investment opportunities. “We won’t rule out more volatility ahead of the US meeting next week,” he said.