ROME: Asian stocks gained after Chinese policy makers increased efforts to spur growth in Asia’s largest economy.
Almost two shares rose for each that fell, as the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 146.44 as of 9:08 a.m. in Tokyo. The measure increased 4.2 percent in February, its largest monthly advance since September 2013, as Greece brokered a deal with creditors to extend bailout funding and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen damped concerns of an imminent rate increase.
The People’s Bank of China lowered the one-year deposit rate by 25 basis points to 2.5 percent and the one-year lending rate to 5.35 percent, effective March 1, the Beijing-based central bank said on its website. China joins a wave of global easing with its second rate cut in three months, as central banks from Singapore to the euro region ramp up monetary policy amid concerns over growth and lackluster inflation.
“China is clearly slowing down, you don’t cut rates twice in three months if things are going stunningly well,” Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners Ltd., which manages about $7.2 billion, said by phone from Wellington. “It’s clear markets are being driven by other factors besides earnings, and key is the ongoing loose central-bank policy around the world.”
Reaction in China’s stock market, which received a fillip from the PBOC’s first interest-rate cut in two years in November, may be muted this time because Saturday’s move was largely priced in, said Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. Markets in China and Hong Kong are yet to open.