LONDON/TOKYO: World shares surged on Wednesday as reports of a European Union rescue fund helped offset concerns about unrest in Hong Kong over Beijing's proposed national security laws.
The European Commission proposed a package worth in total 1.85 trillion euros for the EU's next long-term budget and a recovery fund for economies hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.
News of the plan helped underpin a broad market rally in Europe.
The euro jumped to trade at 1.1022 against the dollar, up from 1.0932, while the STOXX 600 extended gains, rising 0.7per cent to reach its highest level since March 10. Yields of Italian, Spanish and Portuguese sovereign debt fell to multi-week lows.
MSCI's index of the world's 49 stock markets gained 0.3per cent, close to the two-and-a-half-month highs reached on Tuesday on hopes of economic recovery in the developed world as countries ease social restrictions after the COVID-19 crisis.
But concerns about U.S.-China tensions over Hong Kong helped keep a dampener on stronger gains.
Riot police fired pepper pellets on protesters in Hong Kong's main business district, rekindling concern about the unrest seen last year that hit the territory's economy.
MSCI's ex-Japan Asia-Pacific index fell 0.4per cent as Hong Kong and mainland China shares extended declines.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.0per cent and mainland shares were down 0.8per cent, amid fears the protests would worsen antagonism between the United States and China.
Oil prices fell amid the U.S.-China friction and concern over how quickly fuel demand will recover as lockdowns ease. Brent crude futures dropped 1.6per cent to US$35.60. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 1.2per cent, at US$33.95 a barrel.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 1.2per cent to their highest point since March 6. The index had cleared 3,000 points in Wall Street overnight before earlier pulling back, as some traders returned to the New York Stock Exchange floor for the first time in two months.
But China remained in focus after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he was preparing to take action against Beijing this week over its effort to impose national security laws on Hong Kong.
Worsening relations between the world's two biggest economies could further hobble global business activity, which is already under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.
The dollar, measured against a basket of currencies, edged down 0.2per cent to 98.788 .
The Chinese yuan weakened to the lowest levels since early September in both onshore and offshore trade. The onshore renminbi slipped 0.3 to as low as 7.1595 per dollar ; the offshore currency fell 0.4per cent to 7.1760 per dollar .
Anticipation of the EU recovery plan lifted Southern European bonds.
Italy's 10-year bond yield fell to a seven-week low at 1.48per cent , while Spain and Portugal's 10-year govt bond yields , fell to eight-week lows.
U.S. Treasury yields rose, with 10-year yields at 0.687per cent, up about 4 basis points from Tuesday.
Gold prices dropped to a two-week low, before paring some losses to trade down 0.1per cent to US$1,79.00 per ounce.
(Editing by Larry King and Mark Heinrich)