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Asian Stocks Up as Further Super-sized Interest Rate Hike Would Be “Rare”

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© Reuters

By Zhang Mengying

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were up on Thursday morning, boosted by the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comment that further super-sized interest-rate hikes is rare after the central bike delivered its biggest interest rate hike since 1994.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.58% by 10:48 PM ET (2:48 AM GMT).

South Korea’s KOSPI jumped 1.45%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 0.54%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 0.17%.

China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.28% while the Shenzhen Component was up 0.47%.

The Fed raised interest rates by 75 basis points Wednesday to cool inflation after the U.S. consumer price index rose 8.6% year on year in May. The central bank is expected to deliver another big hike in July, but Jerome Powell said, “today’s 75 basis-point increase is an unusually large one and I do not expect moves of this size to be common.”

The Fed also said it will shrink its balance sheet by $47.5 billion a month, which will start from June 1 and step up to $95 billion in September.

“75 basis points is a solid showing that will, all else being equal, serve to improve Fed credibility and leave monetary policy slightly less behind the inflationary curve,” BMO Capital Markets strategists Benjamin Jeffery and Ian Lyngen said in a note.

“The response in risk assets will ultimately define the extent to which the Fed will be able to normalize monetary policy.”

Investors are worried about the slower economic growth brought by the tightening policies. U.S. Treasury yields surged in one of the biggest selloffs in decades and global equities entered a bear market.

“The volatility in bond markets is definitely not over,” Credit Suisse Private Bank director and portfolio manager Jasmin Argyrou told Bloomberg.

“The likelihood is that policy rates in the US may need to go to a more restrictive stance than even the market is pricing in.”

Investors now await policy decisions from the Bank of England (BOE), which are due later in the day. The Bank of Japan will also hand down its policy decisions on Friday.

On the data front, U.S. housing starts, and initial jobless claims are due later in the day.

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China Evergrande faces winding-up lawsuit for $110 million deal obligation

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© Reuters. The Evergrande Center of China Evergrande Group is seen amid other buildings in Shanghai, China, September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

(Reuters) – China Evergrande Group said on Tuesday a winding-up petition was filed against it by investment holding firm Top Shine Global Ltd in Hong Kong for not fulfilling a financial obligation of HK$862.5 million ($109.91 million).

On Monday, Reuters reported that Top Shine Global, an investor in Evergrande’s unit Fangchebao (FCB), had filed the petition saying the embattled property developer had not obliged to a deal to repurchase shares it bought in FCB.

Top Shine in March last year bought 0.46% of FCB, a Chinese online real estate and automobile marketplace, for HK$750 million.

Evergrande in an exchange filing said it will oppose the petition, adding, it would not impact its offshore debt restructuring plan in works that is slated to be announced before the end of next month.

Filed by Top Shine Global of Intershore Consult (Samoa) Ltd on Friday, it is the first known winding-up petition to have been lodged against the Chinese property developer, which has more than $300 billion in liabilities.

($1 = 7.8472 Hong Kong dollars)

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Heineken to expand Mexico operations with $90 million plant

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Heineken beer bottles are seen at a bar in Monterrey, Mexico June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Heineken (OTC:HEINY) will build a 1.8 billion peso, or $90 million, can manufacturing plant in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua near its brewery in the town of Mequoi, the company said on Monday.

The plant, Heineken’s seventh in the country, will bring around 120 direct jobs after opening and around 150 during the construction phase, it said in a press release.

The beermaker said it had seen increased demand for cans in the country, as other national alcoholic drink producers like Becle, Jose Cuervo’s parent company, say they are struggling to obtain glass to bottle their spirits.

Around 40% of beer in Mexico is currently made in cans, while the rest is made in glass bottles, according to the National Chamber of Beer and Malted Drinks.

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U.S. commerce secretary presses lawmakers to greenlight $52 billion for chipmaking

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., February 1, 2022. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday stepped up pressure on Congress to approve $52 billion in funding for chipmakers to expand operations, warning that firms would abandon American expansion plans without the legislation.

“Mark my words … if Labor Day comes and goes and this Chips Act isn’t passed by Congress, these companies will not wait and they will expand in other countries,” she warned in an interview on CNBC.

Both houses of Congress have passed versions of legislation to make the United States more competitive with China that include the chip funding.

However, lawmakers have so far failed to reach consensus on a final version of the sprawling package, despite a global chip crunch.

Raimondo’s warning came after Taiwan’s GlobalWafers announced plans earlier on Monday to build a $5 billion plant in Sherman, Texas to produce the silicon wafers needed for chipmaking. Raimondo said the company’s CEO told her the investment was contingent on Congress approving the funding.

“The consequences to our national security are grave. If we don’t get this passed, and if you’re not going to be able to get everything you want in this, it’s time to move on because we cannot wait,” she admonished lawmakers.

GlobalWafers did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

The persistent industry-wide shortage of chips has disrupted production in the automotive and electronics industries, forcing some firms to scale back production.

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