- ASX SPI 200 futures down 1.6% to 7,175.00
- Dow Average down 1.6% to 33,843.92
- Aussie up 0.8% to 0.7230 per US$
- U.S. 10-year yield fell 2.0bps to 1.4977%
- Australia 3-year bond yield rose 1bp to 0.31%
- Australia 10-year bond yield rose 0.5bps to 1.49%
- Gold spot up 1.8% to $1,757.21
- Brent futures down 0.2% to $78.52/bbl
- 9am: (AU) Sept. Markit Australia PMI Mfg, prior 57.3
- 10am: (AU) Sept. CoreLogic House Px MoM, prior 1.5%
- 11am: (AU) Australia to Sell A$1 Billion 2.75% 2028 Bonds
- 11:30am: (AU) Aug. Investor Loan Value MoM, prior 1.8%
- 11:30am: (AU) Aug. Owner-Occupier Loan Value MoM, est. -0.9%, prior -0.4%
- 11:30am: (AU) Aug. Home Loans Value MoM, est. -0.5%, prior 0.2%
- 4:30pm: (AU) Sept. Commodity Index SDR YoY, prior 50.3%
- 4:30pm: (AU) Sept. Commodity Index AUD, prior 137.9
Asian stocks looked set to start October on the back foot, after their U.S. peers capped their biggest monthly selloff since March 2020 with further losses.
Futures pointed lower in Japan and Australia. China begins a week-long holiday and Hong Kong’s market is shut Friday. U.S. stocks pushed lower Thursday even after confirmation that the House passed a nine-week spending bill to avert a U.S. government shutdown. The S&P 500 closed at the lowest level since July, extending its September losses to almost 5%. Economically sensitive companies like industrials and financials were among the worst performers.
Treasuries rallied with the 10-year yield closing below 1.50%. The dollar gave up some of this week’s gains. Crude oil edged higher after a tumultuous session during which China was said to order its top energy companies to secure energy supplies at all costs amid shortages, prompting the White House to reiterate its own concerns over rising prices.
Chinese parents spend dearly on tutoring for their children to get a jump on national math and language exams, the gateway to advancement and a better life.
Susan Zhang, a 34-year-old mother in China’s capital, is among a smaller group forking out big bucks for jump-rope lessons. She said she couldn’t understand why her 6-year-old daughter Tangtang couldn’t complete two skips in a row after three months of trying.
More than playground prowess was at stake. In 2014, Chinese authorities introduced physical-education requirements that included a national jump-rope exam in first through sixth grades.
To pass, students must complete minimum numbers of skips a minute, and failure can trip up an otherwise promising academic trajectory. Top officials see the activity as an accessible, low-cost way to help build national sports excellence, a priority of China’s leader Xi Jinping.
The higher bar has boosted some entrepreneurs at the expense of parents willing to leap through hoops. Jump-rope schools charge as much as $50 an hour to teach children the mechanics of what has traditionally been a carefree childhood pastime.
On a recent day, a handful of young children in matching yellow T-shirts bounced around a studio in front of floor-to-ceiling mirrors. A trio of instructors corrected technique and offered high-fives. “Keep your elbows closer to your body!” one teacher yelled. “Higher! Jump higher!”
Sending her daughter to skipping school last year was “one of the wisest decisions I made for Tangtang’s education,” Ms. Zhang said. Her daughter is now a rope-skipping powerhouse.
As the competition for slots at top universities grows more fierce, Chinese parents are locked in an educational arms race much like the one in the U.S. Some parents in China’s biggest cities spend as much as half their disposable income on private tutoring and, in many cases, pay millions of dollars for closet-sized apartments just to live in desirable school districts.
Concerns about educational inequality and runaway education costs have prompted Chinese officials to roll out stringent regulations to rein in the for-profit education industry.
Last month, a video showing police kicking down a classroom door and arresting a tutor in front of 30 students in the central province of Anhui went viral. The government crackdown has enlisted elite police squads more accustomed to busting brothels and other locales of ill repute.
So far, authorities have held the line on jump-rope schools. Beijing has called for the opening of hundreds of thousands of fitness centers and earlier this year launched a five-year nationwide fitness program.
Liu Lei, a Beijing-based instructor at Jump, a nationwide chain of jump-rope schools, works from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. His only break is 20 minutes for lunch. The rest of the time he dashes between locations, leading group sessions and offering one-on-one classes for children struggling to master rope-skipping.
“There are too many students,” Mr. Liu said. His employer last year added three locations in Beijing.
Every school in China must administer annual jump-rope tests, issuing one of four grades: Fail, Pass, Good and Excellent. Only students who receive a Good or Excellent are eligible for scholarships.
First-grade boys and girls must be able to skip 17 times in a minute to pass and 87 to receive a Good rating. Boys have to skip 99 times in a minute for an Excellent mark but girls need to hit 103.