China Party Congress, Rio Tinto as well as dollar in focus

Markets kept an eye on developments in China as the country’s 19th Party Congress began. Although past iterations of the meeting have proven opaque, investors attempted to look for signs on how Beijing might tackle issues such as its debt problem as well as industrial over-capacity.

During his nearly 3.5-hour address at the event on Wednesday, President Xi Jinping highlighted achievements made by China in recent years, yet acknowledged challenges in which remained ahead. Xi also pledged there would likely be greater market access within the services sector as well as more extensive economic reforms.

The yuan was little changed on the day, with the onshore yuan trading at 6.6211 to the greenback at 3:09 p.m. HK/SIN. The offshore yuan traded at 6.6183 per dollar. The People’s Bank of China had fixed the yuan midpoint a touch softer than the previous session at 6.5991 per dollar.

Ahead, key data through the globe’s second-largest economy, including September industrial production as well as third-quarter GDP numbers, are due on Oct. 19.

Meanwhile, the U.S. currency extended gains after rising to its highest levels in a week overnight as markets speculated over President Donald Trump’s choice of a candidate to succeed Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair.

Stanford University economist John Taylor, regarded by market watchers as more hawkish than Yellen, can be currently seen as a front-runner, according to media reports. Trump can be supposed to make his decision early in November.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, stood at 93.570 at 3:07 p.m. HK/SIN after touching as high as 93.729 overnight. Against the yen, the greenback was a touch firmer at 112.43, above the 112.18 level seen Tuesday.

Elsewhere, the Bank of England was within the spotlight after U.K. inflation rose 3 percent in September, its fastest pace since 2012. Investors are watching the central bank’s next meeting in November after BoE Governor Mark Carney indicated last month in which interest rates could increase in coming months.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks broadly rose on strong earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average touched the 23,000 mark for once on Tuesday before closing up 0.18 percent, or 40.48 points, on the day at 22,997.44.

In corporate news, Rio Tinto was charged with fraud by the U.S. Securities as well as Exchange Commission, Reuters reported. The mining company had allegedly inflated the cost of assets in Mozambique, Reuters said. Rio Tinto said in a statement in which This kind of would likely “vigorously defend itself” against the “unwarranted” case brought by the SEC. Shares of the miner traded in Australia closed down 0.76 percent.

Meanwhile, ANZ Bank brand-new Zealand said John Key, the former prime minister of brand-new Zealand, would likely be the brand-new chair of its board of directors after current Chair John Judge retires in January 2018. ANZ shares finished the session just 0.03 percent over the flat line.

On the energy front, oil prices strengthened after a choppy session on Tuesday. Investor worries over supply due to geopolitical tensions in Iraq as well as a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles overnight kept prices elevated. Brent crude futures added 0.67 percent to trade at $58.27 a barrel as well as U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 0.42 percent to trade at $52.10.

— CNBC’s Huileng Tan contributed to This kind of report.

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