Asia Morning Call-Global Markets – Reuters.com

March 7 (Reuters) – —————————————————————————————-

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All prices as of 18:32 GMT

EQUITIES

GLOBAL – Data showing a vibrant U.S. jobs market strengthened the dollar and spurred commodity prices higher, but the war in Ukraine overshadowed the blowout report as the euro plunged on the worsening outlook for slower European economic growth.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe (.MIWD00000PUS) closed down 1.65%.

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NEW YORK – Wall Street ended lower on Friday as the war in Ukraine overshadowed an acceleration in U.S. jobs growth last month that pointed to strength in the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 0.53% to end at 33,614.8 points, while the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 0.79% to 4,328.87.

The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 1.66% to 13,313.44.

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LONDON – European stocks sank to near one-year lows on Friday, as auto and bank stocks took a battering on reports of a nuclear power plant on fire amid fierce fighting between Ukraine and Russian troops.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) fell 3.6%. It lost 7% this week – its worst such fall since the pandemic-fuelled selloff in March 2020.

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TOKYO – Japan’s Nikkei index sank the most in almost two weeks on Friday, as the war in Ukraine intensified, but the benchmark escaped its lowest close in 15 months as the market stabilized in the afternoon session.

The Nikkei share average (.N225) ended the day 2.23% lower at 25,985.47, after dipping as much as 3% in the morning to touch 25,774.28 for the first time since November 2020. Of the Nikkei’s 225 components, 198 stocks fell.

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SHANGHAI – China stocks fell on Friday, weighed down by worries over the worsening Ukraine crisis and the domestic property market, while investors nervously awaited clues on policy easing steps from the upcoming Congress meeting.

The blue-chip CSI300 index (.CSI300) fell 1.2% to 4,496.43 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index (.SSEC) lost 1% to 3,447.65.

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AUSTRALIA – Australia shares closed the week 1.6% firmer, underpinned by mining and energy stocks, as supply disruption fears spurred by the Ukraine-Russia crisis sent commodity prices sharply higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 index (.AXJO) closed 0.6% lower at 7,110.8 on Friday, after an attack by Russian forces on a Ukrainian nuclear plant kept investors on edge. The local bourse slumped almost 1.8% before recouping some of the losses towards market close.

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SEOUL – South Korean shares closed lower on Friday, posting their worst day in a week, on concerns around the news of a nuclear power plant fire.

The benchmark KOSPI (.KS11) closed down 33.65 points, or 1.22%, at 2,713.43, after hitting a three-week closing high on Thursday.

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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

NEW YORK – The euro fell against major currencies and the U.S. dollar rallied on Friday as worries increased over the impact of the escalating Ukraine-Russia conflict, especially on Europe’s growth outlook.

Investors flocked to the U.S. dollar and other safe-haven currencies. The U.S. dollar index initially pared gains but then rallied further following data Friday that showed U.S. job growth surged in February. The index also rose 2% on the week, the largest weekly percentage gain since April 2020.

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SHANGHAI – China’s yuan edged up against the dollar Friday, continuing a slow march higher as tensions over the Ukraine crisis support safe-haven bids for the currency, but moves were kept in check ahead of an annual parliamentary meeting.

Spot yuan opened at 6.3201 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.3199 at midday, just nine pips firmer than the previous late session close. The offshore yuan was trading at 6.3225 per dollar, firming from a close of 6.3232 on Thursday.

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AUSTRALIA – The Australian dollar hit four-month highs on Friday as massive gains in commodity prices promised to shower the country in cash, while investors seeking distance from Europe’s woes drove the euro to its lowest on the Aussie in four years.

A week-long rally lifted the Aussie to $0.7330 , having finally cracked the January peak of $0.7314 overnight to reach ground last trod in mid-November.

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SEOUL – The Korean won weakened on Friday to the lowest since June 2020, while the benchmark bond yield rose.

The won ended at 1,214.2 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , the lowest close since June 22, 2020 and down 0.79%.

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TREASURIES

NEW YORK – U.S. Treasury yields fell on Friday after data showed that wage growth stalled in February, while the yield curve reached its flattest level in two years as concerns about the war in Ukraine led investors to seek out longer-dated low-risk debt.

Two-year yields fell four basis points on the day to 1.492%. Benchmark 10-year yields fell 12 basis points to 1.724%.

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LONDON – German 10-year nominal yields are about to set their biggest weekly fall since 2011 after the war in Ukraine pushed investors to rush into safe-haven assets and scale back their bets on rate hikes from the European Central Bank.

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield, the benchmark of the bloc, fell 12.5 basis points (bps) to -0.108%, its lowest since end-January, recording its biggest weekly fall since November 2011, down 32 bps.

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TOKYO – Japanese government bond yields slid on Friday as investors scurried to the safety of debt in light of the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The 10-year JGB yield fell 1.5 basis points to 0.150%, as of 0500 GMT, after a fire broke out at the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant during intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Benchmark 10-year JGB futures rose 0.08 point to 150.89, with a trading volume of 28,092 lots.

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COMMODITIES

GOLD – Palladium prices on Friday rose above $3,000 per ounce for the first time since May 2021 as concerns over supply shortages from top producer Russia mounted, and the war in Ukraine bolstered demand for safe-haven gold.

Spot palladium jumped as much as 8.4% to $3,008.74 per ounce in the session and was up 7.6% at $2,985.54 by 02:30 p.m. ET (1930 GMT).

Spot gold prices jumped 1.6% to $1,965.97 per ounce and were up about 4% for the week so far. U.S. gold futures settled 1.6% higher at $1,966.60.

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IRON ORE – Benchmark iron ore futures in China surged on Friday, clocking their biggest weekly gain in more than two years at nearly 20% on supply disruption fears over the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The most-traded iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange , for May delivery, extended gains into the fifth straight session and ended up 2.8% at 813 yuan ($128.65) per tonne. They were rose as much as 5.7% to 836 yuan earlier in the session.

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BASE METALS – Industrial metals rose on Friday with aluminium headed for a record weekly gain and nickel set for its biggest rise since 2009 on worries over supply from Russia.

Benchmark aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 3.1% at $3,832 a tonne at 1726 GMT after reaching a record high of $3,867. It was up around 14% this week.

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OIL – Oil prices are set to surge further this week due to delays to the conclusion of Iranian nuclear talks and the potential return of Iranian crude to global markets, which are already suffering from Russian supply disruptions, analysts said.

Last week, the Brent benchmark rose 21% to close at $118.11 a barrel and U.S. crude gained 26% to close at $115.68, levels not seen 2013 and 2008, respectively, as Russia struggled to sell oil amid fresh sanctions.

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PALM OIL – Malaysian palm oil futures sank nearly 8% on Friday, as red-hot prices triggered profit-taking, but the market was still up for a second straight week with surveys showing a plunge in end-February inventories.

The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange fell 534 ringgit, or 7.84%, to 6,274 ringgit ($1,502.39) a tonne, its worst daily decline since mid-June last year.

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RUBBER – Japanese rubber futures fell on Friday and posted their first weekly drop in five amid an escalating Ukraine crisis.

The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for August delivery , fell 4.8 yen, or 1.8%, to 255.2 yen ($2.21) per kg. The benchmark lost 2.3% for the week.

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