Global Markets: Asian shares rise on firm China, US data
Australian shares added 0.3 percent, after closing Thursday at a 20-month high when an unexpected fall in Australian employment in December narrowed the odds of another interest rate cut. Market sentiment was also warmed by the solid data from China, Australia's biggest trading partner.
Hong Kong shares rose 0.7 percent and Shanghai shares gained 0.5 percent.
In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei average surged 2.2 percent as the yen resumed its downtrend after a brief pause in recent heavy selling. A weak yen helps improve earnings prospects for Japanese exporters.
The stronger equities boosted Asian credit markets, tightening the spread on the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment-grade index wider by 3 basis points.
YEN WEAKNESS RESUMES
The euro and the dollar gave up some of the gains from Thursday when the currencies advanced to fresh highs against the yen on the back of the strong U.S. data and mounting expectations for bolder easing by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) at its meeting next week.
On Thursday, the dollar rose to 90.14 yen, its highest since June 2010, while the euro hit 120.615 yen, its highest since May 2011. The dollar was at 89.75 yen on Friday and the euro was at 119.92 yen.
Over the past two months, the yen has come under strong pressure on expectations that the new Japanese government will pursue massive
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