Market Talk – Wednesday, Dec. 16

ASIA:

The US Congress has officially passed the USD 740 billion defense policy bill, which among other things, included calling out Chinese aggression against India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The US House of Representatives and the Senate on Tuesday passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included key components of Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy’s resolution language urging the Chinese government to end its military aggression against India along the LAC. The inclusion of this provision, which Mr. Krishnamoorthi led as an amendment when the bill passed the House, reflects the US government’s strong support for its allies and partners like India in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

An international mission led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is expected to go to China in the first week of January to investigate the origins of the virus that sparked the COVID-19 pandemic, a member and diplomats told Reuters on Wednesday. The United States, which has accused China of having hidden the outbreak’s extent, has called for a “transparent” WHO-led investigation and criticized its terms, which allowed Chinese scientists to do the first phase of preliminary research.

India and Britain will push negotiations on trade ties, their foreign ministers said after talks in New Delhi on Tuesday, as both countries seek to restart economies battered by the coronavirus pandemic. Trade and investment will be high on the agenda of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will travel to New Delhi in January, his first bilateral visit since taking office. Earlier this year, trade minister Piyush Goyal said India was open to engaging with Britain on a preferential trade agreement, ultimately leading to a free trade agreement.

Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra’s South Korean unit Ssangyong Motor Co has defaulted on loan repayment of about 60 billion won ($55 million), the Indian company said in a statement to the stock exchange on Tuesday. Of the total payment that was due on Dec. 14, about 30 billion won was owed to Bank of America, 20 billion won to JP Morgan Chase and 10 billion won to BNP Paribas, Mahindra said. Mahindra has since June been looking for a buyer for all or most of its 75% stake in the South Korean sport-utility vehicle (SUV) maker, which it bought from near-insolvency in 2010 but has struggled to turnaround.

The major Asian stock markets had a mixed day today:

  • NIKKEI 225 increased 69.56 points or 0.26% to 26,757.40
  • Shanghai decreased 0.25 points or -0.01% to 3,366.98
  • Hang Seng increased 253.00 points or 0.97% to 26,460.29
  • ASX 200 increased 47.90 points or 0.72% to 6,679.20
  • Kospi increased 14.97 points or 0.54% to 2,771.79
  • SENSEX increased 403.29 points or 0.87% to 46,666.46
  • Nifty50 increased 114.85 points or 0.85% to 13,682.70

The major Asian currency markets had a mixed day today:

  • AUDUSD increased 0.00137 or 0.18% to 0.75710
  • NZDUSD increased 0.00143 or 0.20% to 0.71002
  • USDJPY decreased 0.1580 or -0.15% to 103.48
  • USDCNY decreased 0.00571 or -0.09% to 6.51267
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