Asian Equities Rally after Hong Kong and China Resume Quarantine-Free Travel

Asia and Pacific stocks rose on Monday as Hong Kong and mainland China resumed quarantine-free travel over the weekend, marking the end of the zero-Covid policy that completely shut borders for over three years.

As of 9.29 A.M. (Thai time), Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 2.21% after the reopening on Jan. 8. Gains were led by technology stocks, followed by travel and consumer names. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite climbed 0.75%.

The Kospi in South Korea increased by 1.98%.

The S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.67% as investors digested Australia’s building permits data, which came in much lower than expected.

Japan’s markets were closed for Coming of Age Day, a national holiday.

U.S. major indices finished last week with their first gain of the new trading year. Even though December’s nonfarm payrolls were slightly above forecast, wage growth was weaker than predicted. The ISM’s non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index indicated a drop in the services sector, raising expectations that the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes are helping to control inflation.

According to Bloomberg, investors will be focusing on the December inflation report scheduled on Thursday rather than the jobs report, which failed to provide a clear picture of the condition of the American labor market despite low unemployment and modest pay growth. On Friday, Esther George of the Kansas City Federal Reserve warned that balancing inflation and employment would be difficult. This comes after other central bankers have underlined that interest rates will be raised and kept there for longer than was previously expected.