Asian markets and the euro rose yesterday ahead of a European Central Bank meeting that many expect will see the restart of a sovereign bond-buying programme aimed at easing the eurozone debt crisis. Tokyo edged up 0.01%, or 0.75 points, to 8,680.57 while Seoul advanced 0.38%, or 7.21 points, to close at 1,881.24. Sydney rose 0.80%, or 34.1 points, to finish at 4,312.9 after Qantas Airways jumped 6.67% at A$1.20 on an announcement it has tied up with Emirates Airlines as part of a global alliance to turn around its international arm. Hong Kong was 0.34%, or 64.23 points, higher at 19,209.30 and Shanghai climbed 0.70%, or 14.24 points, to 2,051.92. The gains were also helped by bargain-hunting after two days of losses caused by another batch of weak manufacturing data that fuelled concerns over the global economy. In other markets; Wellington rose 23.89 points, or 0.65% at 3,693.54; Manila closed flat, edging down 0.10 points to 5,150.11; Taipei fell 40.72 points, or 0.55% at 7,326.72; Singapore closed down 0.22%, or 6.64 points, to 2,989.26; Jakarta ended 0.67% higher, or 27.51 points up, at 4,102.86; Kuala Lumpur dipped 23.02 points, or 1.40%, to 1,617.99; while Bangkok rose 0.82% or 10.08 points to 1,243.92. Investors became increasingly confident that the ECB would announce plans to buy up the debt of under-pressure countries that have seen their borrowing costs soar to dangerous levels. Bank chief Mario Draghi raised hopes in July by saying it would do whatever was needed to save the euro, and expectations were raised further this week when European lawmakers said he had hinted at buying short-term debt on the secondary market. Such a move in the past was justified to help stabilise and protect the 17-nation eurozone, he said, according to the politicians. And on Wednesday media reports said the ECB planned to re-enter sovereign debt markets with unlimited bond purchases. The expectations sent the euro higher in New York late Wednesday after easing slightly earlier in the day in Asia. Yesterday the single currency rose further, fetching $1.2629 and ¥99.05 against $1.2600 and ¥98.78 in New York. The dollar was at ¥78.42, compared with ¥78.38. However, Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires that traders would remain edgy until after the ECB meeting later yesterday. “It will be more of the same as in recent sessions—small net market movements, reduced volatility, with some bargain-buying in oversold issues, as well as some added buying in euro-exposed issues,” he said. “The ECB meeting is the main focus, however, and trading will be thin until more is known about the implications” of the central bank’s policy stance. Once the ECB meeting was out of the way dealers would be looking to the US, where non-farm jobs data will be released today, which will give a clearer indication as to the state of the world’s number one economy. From gulf times.