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Stock markets mostly rise on China support; pound rallies

LONDON (AFP) – Major stock markets mostly rose yesterday as China moved to boost its flagging economy, while the pound hit a 15-month high against the dollar as United Kingdom (UK) data pointed to more aggressive interest rates hikes from the Bank of England (BoE).

Traders were looking ahead to United States inflation data this week, set to provide fresh indication of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate plans.

Hong Kong was again one of the best performers.

China has meanwhile urged banks and other financial institutions to provide easier terms for ailing property developers by renegotiating the terms of their loans, with the aim of ensuring homes under construction were delivered.

And yesterday, state-run financial newspapers said more announcements were in the pipeline as well as measures to boost business confidence.

Elsewhere yesterday, London was a rare faller among major stock markets as the pound strengthened, impacting share prices of multinationals earnings in dollars.

The pound reached a 15-month high above USD1.29 after UK jobs and wages data indicated that the BoE still had some way to go before its stops hiking interest rates aimed at cooling high inflation. “While there are some signs the tightness in the labour market is starting to ease, wage growth remains uncomfortably high in the context of the BoE’s efforts to get surging prices under control,” noted AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.

“Borrowers face more pain with the prospect of further rate hikes to come.”

PHOTO: AP
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