* Most Asian stock markets firmer after Wall St steadies
* China concerns keep oil, industrial commodity prices
* Risk indicators relatively calm, currencies eerily quiet
* BOJ keeps steady course on stimulus, market looks for more
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, March 11 Asian markets were finding
their feet on Tuesday after a rocky ride the previous session,
though uncertainty about the true state of China's economy kept
nerves frayed and commodity prices restrained.
Most regional shares edged ahead, with Japan's Nikkei
adding 0.6 percent and the major European bourses were
seen opening up around 0.2 percent. MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan put on 0.3
percent, after shedding 1.3 percent on Monday.
Shanghai was flat so perilously close to its lowest
since last July, while prices for industrial commodities stayed
under water in the wake of February's shock fall in Chinese
Dealers were especially nervous about iron ore following an 8 percent slide on Monday that
fuelled unease about the health of China's giant steel sector.
Brent crude lost a further 16 cents to $107.92,
while U.S. oil extended its decline to $101.06 a barrel.
There was some relief that rates in Chinese money markets
were not showing much strain while the yuan was fixed in line
Wall Street also managed to end steady on Monday after
recouping early losses. The Dow Jones industrial average
ended off 0.21 percent, while the S&P 500 lost just 0.05
Other popular indicators of risk were benign. The stock
market's fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index, ended
little changed after an early spike, while U.S. 10-year Treasury
yields eased a single basis point to 2.78 percent.
Forex markets were surprisingly calm with the U.S. dollar
barely changed against a basket of major currencies.
Even currencies from major resource exporters incurred only
modest losses. The Australian dollar, often used as a
liquid proxy for Chinese risk, stabilised at $0.9030 after
losing half a U.S. cent on Monday.
The euro held rock steady at $1.3870, while the
dollar inched up to 103.27 yen.
The Bank of Japan on Tuesday reaffirmed a commitment to
massive monetary stimulus at its regular policy meeting, but
downgraded its view on exports following soft data recently.
Nothing new was expected at this meeting, but markets
suspect the BOJ could be pushed into action once a sales tax
increase goes through in April.
The Japanese economy grew at a pedestrian 0.7 percent
annualised pace in the last quarter of 2013 as net exports
proved a major drag, intensifying pressure for fresh action form
the central bank.
Gold was a shade firmer at $1,341.70 an ounce on
Tuesday as fears of an economic slowdown in China and Ukraine's
geopolitical crisis keep investors seeking safe-haven bullion.
In a sign of investor confidence in the precious metal amid
global uncertainties, the world's biggest bullion-backed
exchange-traded fund saw its largest inflow in a month on