Live News: Topix hits 33-year high on hopes of Japanese equities rally

by The Insights

China’s youth unemployment rate rises despite end of Covid restrictions

China’s youth unemployment hit a record high in April, figures from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics showed, adding to mounting pressure on policymakers to stimulate the flagging economy.

The unemployment rate for people aged 16 to 24 rose to 20.4% from 19.6% the previous month. This surpassed the previous record set last summer, when much of the country was still under strict restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The overall unemployment rate fell from 5.3% to 5.2% previously. Youth unemployment has risen during the nearly three years of Covid zeroing in China, with the latest data indicating the workforce is still struggling to absorb workers.

Retail and production in China falter as post-Covid recovery crumbles

Official data showed retail sales rose 18.4% from the same period last year, while industrial production rose 5.6% © Bloomberg

China’s retail sales and industrial production both fell short of expectations in April, casting doubt on the sustainability of the country’s economic recovery after its years of strict zero Covid restrictions.

Official data showed retail sales rose 18.4% from the same period last year, while industrial production rose 5.6%. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast readings of 21% and 10.9%, respectively.

Both readings were boosted from a low base in April last year when the economy was stifled by tight Covid-19 restrictions. China’s economic rebound started strongly in 2023, but has since shown signs of running out of steam.

Topix hits 33-year high on renewed hopes for Japanese stocks

Japan’s Topix hit its highest level in nearly 33 years on Tuesday, boosted by a rally led by overseas investors.

Buyers were drawn to Tokyo stocks by potential improvements in corporate governance, a return to wage inflation and perceived market stability relative to geopolitical Chinese stocks.

The buying took the Topix to a level last seen in the aftermath of the stock market bubble of the late 1980s.

The index gained as much as 0.5% to briefly touch its highest level since August 1990, when the market had not reached its all-time high, but Japan had still not fully accepted the idea that its once epic asset bubble had already burst.

Kyiv rocked by explosions as Russian airstrikes intensify

Residents of Kyiv take refuge in a metro station

Kiev residents take shelter in a metro station during an air raid amid Russian missile attacks earlier this month © Alina Smutko/Reuters

Ukraine’s capital of Kiev was rocked by more than a dozen explosions around 3 a.m. Tuesday, half an hour after air raid sirens sounded a nationwide warning that invading Russian forces were resuming their airstrikes on the country.

Financial Times correspondents heard several explosions, marking one of the loudest barrages to hit the city in recent months. Details of damage and casualties were not immediately clear.

Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said in a statement on social media that “air defenses are working on targets”.

US announces tougher sanctions on Iranian drone sales to Russia

The United States said on Monday that tougher sanctions would be imposed for the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia for use in the invasion of Ukraine.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said new details about Russian-Iranian cooperation had emerged, including plans to sell more advanced aircraft to Russia. Since August, Iran has already provided 400 drones and Russia has spent most of them.

Iran, in turn, is seeking billions of dollars worth of military equipment from Russia, including fighter jets and attack helicopters, Kirby said.

He added that the United States would hold those involved in the trade accountable and announce “new measures” to help governments and businesses better understand the risks posed by Iran’s drone program.

What to watch in Asia today

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo throws out a ceremonial first pitch during a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo throws out a ceremonial first pitch during a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs earlier this month © Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

United States-China: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will testify at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on US-China relations.

Data: China releases data on April retail sales, industrial production and unemployment. The Reserve Bank of Australia publishes the minutes of its last monetary policy meeting. Westpac releases its latest Australian consumer sentiment figures.

Earnings: Singaporean technology group Sea, Singapore Airlines and Chinese research company Baidu publish their results.

Events: Industry group Airports Council International opens its first Asia-Pacific regional conference and expo since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Kobe, Japan. Carlyle Asia concludes its two-day investor meeting at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong.

Ukrainian anti-corruption bodies denounce Supreme Court bribery scheme

Ukraine’s anti-corruption bodies said they uncovered bribes in the country’s Supreme Court.

The country’s anti-corruption bureau and the specialized anti-corruption prosecutor’s office said in a joint statement on Monday that they had “exposed large-scale corruption in the Supreme Court, namely a system to collect undue advantages by the leaders and justices of the Supreme Court”.

The groups said in a statement posted on social media that “urgent investigative actions are currently underway. Details later. The message included photographs of large piles of cash on a couch.

Elon Musk subpoenaed by US Virgin Islands in Epstein trial

Elon Musk

The US Virgin Islands said it has tried to serve Elon Musk with a subpoena on several occasions in recent weeks © Ludovic Marin/AFP via Reuters

Elon Musk has been subpoenaed for documents by lawyers seeking to determine whether he was introduced to JPMorgan Chase by late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

In a filing on Monday, the US Virgin Islands, which is suing JPMorgan over its alleged role in funding Epstein’s human trafficking operation in the territory, said it tried to serve the chief executive of Tesla several times over the past few weeks.

USVI attorneys said the request for documents was made because Musk is “a wealthy individual whom Epstein may have referred or attempted to refer to JPMorgan.”

A lawyer for Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

US to start filling strategic oil reserves after stocks run out

The United States will begin to fill its strategic oil reserves in the coming months after President Joe Biden’s administration emptied the stockpile over the past year to maintain a cap on prices in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Department of Energy on Monday opened a solicitation process for companies to submit proposals to sell 3 million barrels of crude in the strategic petroleum reserve.

The announcement comes after Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm indicated last month that purchases would begin in the second half of the year after a long period of drawdowns that left reserves at their lowest level since the early 1980s.

U.S. stocks rise but debt ceiling remains front and center

People walk along Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.7% on Monday, while Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.3% © Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. stocks were subdued on Monday as investors awaited news on debt ceiling negotiations and assessed fresh data pointing to a slowing economy.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.7%, extending its gains from the previous week, while Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 added 0.3%.

The moves in U.S. stocks came as traders awaited a breakthrough between the White House and Republican lawmakers in talks to raise the federal borrowing limit and avoid a national default, ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with leaders of the Congress Tuesday.

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