Asia shares edge up on news Trump signs aid bill

TOKYO – Asia shares and US stock futures ticked up on Monday (Dec 28) as a source said US President Donald Trump signed into law a US$2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package he had until now refused to sign.

US S&P futures last traded up 0.4 per cent.

The futures had earlier reversed losses after a cryptic tweet by Trump – “Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow” – helped offset worries about further in stimulus spendings.

A source later said he had approved the bill.

Japan’s Nikkei inched up 0.4 per cent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 per cent, though trade is slow with many markets still closed for holiday.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index was up 0.3 per cent at the midday treading break.

“It is positive for markets that we no longer have a chaos over stimulus, considering there was a of a partial government shutdown,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

“But on the other hand, markets have talked about that stimulus for a long time and I would say most of it has been already priced in.”

Trump had refused to sign into law the pandemic aid and spending package that the Congress has passed, demanding stimulus checks for struggling Americans be increased.

Trump’s threat to not sign the package had already shuttered an emergency unemployment aid programme and threatened a partial federal government shutdown at midnight on Monday.

US bond yields edged up in its first trade after Christmas, with the 10-year US Treasuries yield up 0.6 basis point at 0.930 per cent.

The rollouts of Covid-19 vaccines are also bolstering hopes of more economic normalisation next year, with Europe launching a drive on Sunday.

That offset alarms over a new highly infectious variant of the virus that has been raging in the south-east of England and was confirmed in many other countries, including Japan, France and Canada, over the weekend.

Major currencies were little changed.

The euro traded at US$1.2204, a tad below its 2-1/2-year high of US$1.22735, while the yen changed hands at 103.56 per dollar.

The British pound changed hands at US$1.3565, not far from a 2-1/2-year high of US$1.3625 hit earlier this month after Britain and the European Union reached an agreement on trade framework after Brexit.

Bitcoin extended gains over the weekend to reach a new high of US$28,377.94 before stepping back to US$26,457.32, bringing the total value of the cryptocurrency in circulation to over US$500 billion.

Oil prices edged down a tad, with US crude futures down 0.8 per cent at US$47.85 per barrel.

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