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Asian markets sharply higher after ECB move

Asian markets sharply higher after ECB move

Asian markets surged Friday after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi unveiled a plan to buy the bonds of troubled eurozone nations in a bid to tackle the region's long-running debt crisis.

By Agence France-Presse

Friday 7 September 2012, 12:01PM

The bullish sentiment fuelled by Draghi's announcement was increased by US data showing many more jobs than expected were created in the private sector last month, lifting hopes for the world's number one economy.

Tokyo surged 1.75 percent by the break, Hong Kong jumped 1.81 percent, Shanghai rose 2.00 percent, Sydney gained 0.58 percent and Seoul rallied 2.10 percent.

Draghi said Thursday the ECB would buy unlimited amounts of debt from troubled nations such as Spain and Italy in order to lower their cost of borrowing and help them get back on their feet -- a scheme named "Outright Monetary Transactions".

The OMTs "will enable us to address severe distortions in government bond markets which originate from, in particular, unfounded fears on the part of investors of the reversibility of the euro", Draghi said.

"We will do whatever it takes" to keep the eurozone together, he added.

However, he said the purchases would depend on those countries asking for bailout cash and agreeing to undertake economic reforms.

The announcement "exceeded market expectations, which hasn't happened for a long time," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist at Credit Agricole in Hong Kong.

"It draws a line, for a while at least, under the issue of peripheral European debt," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

The euro rallied in New York after the news, surging to a two-month high of $1.2652 at one point before ending Thursday at $1.2629.

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In early Tokyo trade it bought $1.2631. It also rose to 99.64 yen in Tokyo, from 99.60 yen late Thursday. Before Draghi's plan the common currency fetched $1.2629 and 99.05 yen.

The dollar also rose Friday, to 78.89 yen from 78.85 yen late Thursday.

In the United States figures from payrolls company ADP Thursday showed private-sector employment rising by 201,000 in August, after an upwardly revised July gain of 173,000.

The jobs number was well above the average forecast of 143,000, and showed a strong increase of 29,000 in the key service sector from July, to 185,000.

Also lifting sentiment were figures from the Institute for Supply Management Thursday showing its monthly purchasing managers index for the services sector rose to 53.7 from 52.6 in July, scotching worries of a downturn. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

On Wall Street the Dow climbed 1.87 percent and the S&P 500 advanced 2.04 percent -- both to their highest levels since December 2007. The Nasdaq surged 2.17 percent.

Eyes are now on non-farm payrolls data to be released later Friday, which traders said were also "pointing to quite a strong read as well".

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October slipped 76 cents to $94.77 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for October delivery shed 81 cents to $112.68.

Gold was at $1,692.75 at 0250 GMT compared with $1,708.24 on Thursday.

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