Asian markets rise on Greece confidence

 Asian markets rose on Tuesday with traders expecting the final go-ahead for Greece's second bailout soon, although they were unfazed by fresh easing measures from Japan's central bank.

Sydney rose 1.21 percent, or 50.9 points, to 4,347.6, Tokyo was flat, adding 9.22 points to 9,899.08 and Seoul jumped 1.13 percent, or 22.54 points, to 2,025.04.

Hong Kong gained 0.97 percent, or 205.52 points, to 21.339.70 and Shanghai added 0.86 percent, or 20.94 points, to 2,455.80.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble lifted spirits when he said on Monday that the remainder of a multi-billion-euro package of loans from eurozone governments under a second Greek bailout will be signed off this week.

"There's no more doubt," he told reporters in Brussels. "The second aid programme will be signed this week."

Schaeuble's comments came after Greece late last week secured a debt write-down from its private investors, which slashed more than 100 billion euros from its huge debt mountain.

Investors were also looking ahead to a Federal Open Market Committee meeting later in the global day following a string of upbeat data that indicates the recovery in the US economy is gaining traction.

"After the vast improvement we have seen in US economic data recently, some analysts feel we could see a significant shift in the Fed's stance on easing," Justin Harper, market strategist at IG Markets Singapore said in a note.

"As a result, the meeting has the potential to be a key event for markets this week," he said, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

However, he added that "battling this rising tide of optimism are lingering concerns about eurozone and Chinese economies".

Tokyo investors were unmoved by the Bank of Japan's decision to boosted a loan programme by almost $25 billion to kickstart the economy, while saying the economy had shown signs of picking up.

The fresh easing measures follow the rate-setting board's move last month to pump 10 trillion yen ($130 billion) more cash into the economy.

The bank also said it would hold interest rates at near zero.

Fears of a sharp slowdown in China have also risen after the country posted its biggest trade deficit in at least 12 years on Saturday due to weakening export growth, while inflation came in at its lowest pace since June 2010.

Output growth also eased in the world's second-biggest economy.

The euro bought $1.3162 and 107.37 yen in late Asian trade, compared with $1.3147 and 108.22 yen in New York late Monday. The dollar was at 82.33 yen compared with 82.32 yen.

On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April, gained 66 cents to $107.00 per barrel in the afternoon while Brent North Sea crude for April settlement was up 64 cents at $125.98.

Gold was at $1,699.88 an ounce at 0830 GMT, compared with $1,704.50 late Monday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei finished 1.31 percent, or 103.96 points, higher at 8,031.51.

Hon Hai Precision gained 1.99 percent to Tw$102.5 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 1.63 percent higher at Tw$81.3.

-- Manila closed 0.61 percent, or 30.58 points, up at 5,005.75.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. was flat at 2,760 pesos while Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. rose 4.79 percent to 86.30 pesos.

-- Wellington gained 0.54 percent, or 18.44 points, to 3,740.81.

Telecom added 1.9 percent to NZ$2.46, Fletcher Building rose 1.1 percent to NZ$6.76 and Chorus shed 0.8 percent to NZ$3.60.

Source: AFP

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