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  • Asian stocks excluding Japan hit 2-1/2-year highs on Monday. 
  • Above-forecast China PMI numbers bolstered risk sentiment. 

Asian stocks rise to the highest level since March 2018

Asian stocks jumped to 29-month highs on Monday, extending the preceding week’s 2.8% rally. 

According to Reuters, the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.5% to reach its highest since March 2018. Japan’s Nikkei index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1% each. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.9%. 

China data powers gains

While China’s NBS manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) decreased to 51 in August from 51.1 in July, the actual figure bettered estimates of a decline to 48.7. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. 

Meanwhile, the official non-manufacturing PMI rose to 55.2 from 54.2 in July. 

The upbeat China data reinforced expectations for a faster recovery in the world’s second-largest economy, pushing the equities higher. 

Apart from China’s data, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) recent decision to adopt a more relaxed inflation policy boosted the risk appetite. 

On Thursday, Fed’s President Jerome Powell said that the central bank will now be more willing to allow inflation to rise above the 2% target before raising rates. Powell’s comments convinced markets that the monetary policy would remain super stimulatory for a prolonged period. 

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