China stocks surged and led the most of Asian shares higher on Monday, after regulators announced a long-awaited stock trading link between Hong Kong and Shanghai will start next week. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.3% to the highest level since November 15, 2011, while the Hang Seng Index gained 0.8%. The so-called Stock Connect trading scheme will allow global funds to buy into an estimated $2 trillion worth of mainland stocks. It is one of China’s major efforts to open up its tightly-controlled capital markets.
Russia’s ruble rallied on Friday snapping a four-day retreat, amid mounting speculation the central bank will take new measures to help the currency recover some of the worst weekly losses in five years as geopolitical tensions worsens in Ukraine’s east. The currency traded nearly 2% higher than yesterday’s closing against both the dollar and the euro in volatile afternoon trading, after falling more than 3% against both currencies in earlier today.
The euro fell to as low as 1.2396 against the dollar, the weakest level since August 2012, as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi reassured of additional stimulus measures if needed to shore up the struggling Euro Area economy. The shared currency slid 0.4% versus the yen to 142.55 after having touched a 10-month high earlier today. With the euro at a 26-month low, the region’s high-yielding government bonds advanced on the expectation that the ECB will now be able to maneuver through significant policy easing.