China’s currency gained some strength after the country’s central bank fixed the yuan at a rate that was stronger than what analysts anticipated. The country released promising trade data, too. Investors also had a chance to digest moves from policymakers across the region who took steps this week to protect their economies from slowing global growth. China’s Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) gained 0.9%, poised to snap a six-day losing streak. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) added 0.7%. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.7%, while South Korea’s Kospi (KOSPI) climbed 1%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 rose 0.6%, and India’s Sensex (SENSEX) added 0.4%. It’s been a turbulent week for markets, as fears about the US-China trade war and the risk of a recession have gripped investors. Trading in the United States on Wednesday was volatile. Central bank cuts and a stronger yuan Thursday’s upswing in Asia came a day after central banks in India, New Zealand and Thailand all made aggressive cuts to interest rates. The Philippines is expected to follow suit, said Ken Wong, an Asian equity portfolio specialist for Eastspring Investments. Wong added that expectations have risen for the Federal Reserve in the United States to make additional cuts, too, to bolster growth amid rising fears about a worldwide economic slowdown. The Fed cut rates last month for the first time since the Great Recession. Meanwhile, China’s yuan rose in both onshore and offshore trading. The People’s Bank of China earlier cut the yuan’s daily reference rate to 7.0039 yuan to one US dollar. China sets a “band” every day to limit how far up or down the yuan’s value can move.
While that is the lowest fixing the central bank has made since the spring of 2008 — and