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    HomeBusinessAsia-Pacific shares trade higher ahead of U.S. inflation report

    Asia-Pacific shares trade higher ahead of U.S. inflation report

    Thai baht to ‘recover the strongest’ among regional currencies on China reopening: Credit Suisse

    The Thai baht will “recover the strongest” amongst other Southeast Asian currencies on China’s reopening, said Credit Suisse’s Asia FX strategist Max Lin.

    Lin claimed Thailand has not implemented any sort of travel restrictions on Chinese tourists, and the government is “still very supportive” of the tourism freedom.

    “It sounds like there still will be a lot of regional tourism demand,” he said, pointing to reports of Chinese outbound tourism activities on travel booking websites.

    The Thai Baht has strengthened back to levels seen in April 2022 and last stood at 33.41 against the greenback.

    —Lee Ying Shan

    Apple’s Asia suppliers mostly fall after reports of in-house screen manufacturing

    Shares of some Apple suppliers in Asia fell after Bloomberg reported that the company will begin making in-house screens in 2024.

    South Korea listed stocks of LG Display fell 3.35% in its afternoon trade shortly after the report, while Samsung Electronics traded 0.17% higher. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. also traded 0.41% lower.

    Separately, Shenzhen-listed shares of BOE Technology Group, or Jingdongfang, rose more than 1% as Reuters reported that the Apple supplier is planning invest a substantial sum to build new factories in Vietnam.

    — Jihye Lee

    Cryptocurrencies trade higher even as Coinbase announce layoffs

    Cryptocurrencies inched higher after crypto company Coinbase announced plans to trim 20% of its workforce as it looks to preserve cash during the crypto market downturn.

    Bitcoin last traded higher by 1.55% at $17,459.63 according to Coin Metrics. Ether gained 1% to $1,337.85.

    Other digital coins like Cronos and Cardano also advanced gains.

    CEO Brian Armstrong said there was “no way” to reduce expenses and increase its chances of “doing well in every scenario” without reducing head count.

    —Lee Ying Shan, Kate Rooney

    Philippines inflation will return to as low as 2% by 2024, says finance secretary

    Inflation in the Philippines expected to return to target of 2% to 4% by 2024: Finance secretary

    Inflation in the Philippines is expected to return to the government’s target range in two years, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

    Diokno said he is confident that average inflation for 2023 will be between 2.5% to 4.5% before easing to 2% to 4% by the next year, he told CNBC on the sidelines of the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong.

    Headline inflation in the Philippines still remains high, increasing to 8.1% in December 2022 from 8% the month before, according to government data.

    Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Felipe Medalla announced on Monday that interest rates will be raised by another 25 to 50 basis points in February. Diokno added he expects the central bank to pivot some time this year.

    “There’s also the possibility that we will cut at some point in this year because we might be overshooting,” he said.

    — Charmaine Jacob

    Australia’s consumer prices rose 7.3% in November on back of higher housing and food prices

    Australia consumer price index rose 7.3% year-on-year in November, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a sign that inflationary pressures have yet to slow.

    The figure is in line with Reuters’ expectations, and higher than last month’s reading of 6.9%.

    Housing, food and transport were amongst the top components fueling the hike, the release said.

    Separately, Australia reported an in crease in sales of 1.4% for November compared to a month ago, buoyed by Black Friday sales.

    — Lee Ying Shan

    CNBC Pro: This global ETF is the only fund that’s posted gains every year for the past decade

    The only stock ETF to have had a positive return every year over the past decade has been revealed by CNBC Pro.

    It is the sole fund of almost 7,000 equities ETFs worldwide screened by CNBC Pro not to have a single year of negative returns between Jan. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2022.

    It has also offered investors a 14% compounded annual growth rate over the same period, which is significantly more than broader index tracking funds, according to Koyfin data.

    CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

    — Ganesh Rao

    South Korea’s unemployment rate climbs to 11-month high

    South Korea’s unemployment rate for December climbed 3.3%, marking the highest in 11 months, government data showed.

    The reading is higher compared to November’s figure of 2.9%

    In spite the higher unemployment figure, the total number of employed people in 2022 came up to 28.089 million, up from 816,000 from a year ago.

    – Lee Ying Shan, Jihye Lee

    CNBC Pro: ‘An expensive mistake: Citi says stop hoarding cash — and reveals two areas to invest in

    Investors endured a tough 2022, as stocks and bonds fell amid broader market turmoil.

    While many sought refuge in the relative safety of cash, Citi says it’s now time to put it to work and named two ways to deploy it for higher returns.

    Pro subscribers can read more here.

    — Zavier Ong

    Fed should stay politically independent while tackling inflation, Powell says

    Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday stressed the need for the central bank to be free of political influence while it tackles persistently high inflation.

    In a speech delivered to Sweden’s Riksbank, Powell noted that stabilizing prices requires making tough decisions that can be unpopular politically.

    “Price stability is the bedrock of a healthy economy and provides the public with immeasurable benefits over time. But restoring price stability when inflation is high can require measures that are not popular in the short term as we raise interest rates to slow the economy,” the chair said in prepared remarks.

    “The absence of direct political control over our decisions allows us to take these necessary measures without considering short-term political factors,” he added.

    — Jeff Cox

    Copper hits highest price since June

    Copper hit a high not seen since June.

    The metal settled up just under 1.3% at $4.0775. It posted a high of $4.0835, which was its most expensive since it hit $4.1160 on June 17.

    Copper has gained about 7% since 2023 began.

    — Gina Francolla, Alex Harring

    Coinbase to layoff 20% of workforce

    Coinbase’s stock gained 6% after the crypto exchange operator announced plans to slash 20% of its workforce in an attempt to trim costs.

    The layoffs will impact 950 jobs and marks the second round of cuts from the company in recent months. Coinbase laid off 18% of its workforce in June in preparation for a potential recession and crypto winter, saying that it had grown “too quickly” during the bull market.

    Crypto markets have come under pressure following the collapse of FTX, one of the industry’s largest operators.

    Coinbase said the new round of layoffs will bring down its operating expenses by 25% for the quarter ending in March, according to a new regulatory filing.

    — Kate Rooney, Samantha Subin

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