Asian stocks gain on good news on Chinese real estate sector | Local News

BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks were higher in Asia on Monday, driven by gains in Chinese markets after regulators urged banks to back real estate projects to bolster the housing market.

US futures advanced and oil prices jumped more than $2 a barrel. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 2.4% to 20,777.45 after Chinese media reported that some stalled property projects had resumed construction after buyers threatened to halt mortgage payments. The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.6% to 3,278.10.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has ordered banks and insurers to guarantee the handover of apartments contracted for construction.

Hong Kong-traded shares of struggling developer China Evergrande Group jumped 8.6%. Guangzhou R&F Properties jumped 9% and Country Garden Holdings Co. gained 5.1%.

In Seoul, the Kospi jumped 1.9% to 2,375.25. Australia’s S&P/ASX 500 added 1.2% to 6,687.10.

New Zealand stocks edged higher even after the government announced inflation hit a 32-year high of 7.3% in the April-June quarter. It was 6.9% in the previous quarter.

On Sunday, the New Zealand government announced that it would extend until January a program to reduce fuel taxes and public transport costs.

“We recognize that this is a difficult time for New Zealanders and that the rising cost of living is making it difficult for many,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

Investors await a decision from the European Central Bank on Thursday on whether to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 years to curb inflation.

Europe is feeling the pain of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Growing pressure from high energy prices is driving record inflation and increasing the likelihood of a return to recession even as prices rise dangerously.

“Europe is a classic example of the perils of accommodative monetary policy,” Oanda’s Jeffrey Halley said in a commentary, adding that “it’s easy to take it out of the box, but as the financial system gets addicted to a zero percent cost of capital, it’s hard to put it back on.”

Strong corporate earnings and an encouraging consumer sentiment report helped push stocks higher on Friday, but Wall Street benchmarks still ended the week lower.

A July survey from the University of Michigan showed that inflation expectations remained stable or improved, as did general consumer sentiment. This was good news after reports that showed consumer prices remained extremely high in June, as well as wholesale prices for businesses.

The report also bodes well for investors looking for signs that the Federal Reserve may eventually ease its aggressive inflation-fighting policy.

The S&P 500 rose 1.9% to 3,863.16. ending a five game losing streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.1% to 31,288.26 and the Nasdaq gained 1.8% to 11,452.42. Smaller company stocks outperformed the broader market, pushing the Russell 2000 Index up 2.2% to 1,744.37.

Inflation and its impact on businesses and consumers remains a key target for Wall Street. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates in an effort to curb rising inflation. The Fed has already raised rates three times this year.

In other trading, the benchmark U.S. crude oil gained $2.37 to $99.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.81 to $97.59 a barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, the standard for international trade, jumped $2.61 to $103.77 a barrel.

The US dollar slipped to 138.15 Japanese yen from 138.98 yen. The euro fell from $1.0080 to $1.0145.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.