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Asia Shares Inch Up as Poor Data Stimulus Hopes

Asian shares tip-toed higher on Monday amid a cautious market temper as traders hoped for motive to support progress in the world’s major economies.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan contributed 0.1%.

Australian shares edged up 0.1%, South Korea’s KOSPI surged 0.7%, and Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.4%.

International equity markets felt a lift after China’s central bank said Friday it was decreasing how much cash banks must hold in reserve, delivering liquidity to shore up an economy slowed by the Sino-U.S. trade battle.

Underscoring the need for more incentive, Sunday data showed China’s exports unexpectedly plunged in August as deliveries to the United States fell.

Risk sentiment was further fortified as Federal Reserve Board Chairperson Jerome Powell said Friday that the main bank would continue to behave “as appropriate” to sustain economic expansion on the earth’s greatest economy.

Broader stock market gains had been tempered in the wake of lackluster economic data – U.S. job growth slowed over expected in August – though even this was seen as a positive factor for equities.

The greenback was capped as U.S. yields came off two-week highs after Friday’s soft U.S. jobs report further raised expectations for a Fed rate cut.

The dollar traded at 106.840 yen, off the one-month peak of 107.235 scaled late last week.

The euro was steady at $1.1025, weighed down ahead of Thursday’s ECB policy decision and close to a 28-month low of $1.0926 set last week.

The Australian greenback, sensitive to shifts in broader risk appetite, floated near a five-week peak of $0.6862 set on Friday.

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