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Asia-Pacific markets are mixed ahead of China trade data; Bank of Korea raises rates

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SINGAPORE — Shares in the Asia-Pacific were mixed on Wednesday ahead of China trade data and central bank decisions in the region.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.33%, and the Topix index gained 0.20%

In South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.38% and the Kosdaq was 0.62% higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia was slightly lower.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.32% in early trade.

Tianqi Lithium plunged around 10% at its market debut in Hong Kong from its offer price of 82 Hong Kong dollars ($10.45). It was last at 73.90 Hong Kong dollars.

Mainland China markets were higher. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.2% and the Shenzhen Component was up 0.16%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.56% higher.

Investors will also be looking ahead to the U.S. inflation report for June.

Sharp weakness in oil prices in July suggests that June may mark a peak [in inflation].
ANZ Research

Chinese trade data is due on Wednesday. A Reuters poll predicts that exports will grow by 12%, while imports will increase by 3.9%.

The Bank of Korea raised rates by 50 basis points for the first time, bringing the rate to 2.25%, Reuters reported. That’s in line with analyst expectations in a Reuters poll. The Korean won stood at 1,306.27 against the greenback.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is set to increase rates by half a point as well.

Thailand’s stock exchange is closed for a holiday Wednesday.

Major indexes in the U.S. see-sawed during the trading day before closing lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 192.51 points or 0.62% to 30,981.33, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.92% to 3,818.80. The Nasdaq Composite slid 0.95% to close at 11,264.73.

The U.S. will report consumer price index data later Wednesday, and markets are expecting hot inflation, which would keep the Fed firmly on its hiking path.

“Sharp weakness in oil prices in July suggests that June may mark a peak,” ANZ Research said in a note Wednesday. That could mean the most dynamic phase of Fed tightening could end after the central bank raises rates on July 27.

“However, our expectation is that underlying strength in core inflation and still deeply negative real policy rates means 50bps rate rises will still be appropriate after the summer,” the note said.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 108.239 after briefly falling below 108.

The Japanese yen changed hands weakened to 137.18 per dollar. The Australian dollar was at $0.6751.

The euro hit parity with the U.S. dollar on Tuesday for the first time in 20 years, with the common currency weakened by Europe’s energy supply concerns and economic troubles, while the safe-haven greenback has been supported by global growth worries.

The euro was last at 1.0025.

Oil futures declined in Asia trade. U.S. crude futures fell 0.48% to $95.38 per barrel, and Brent crude slipped 0.47% to $99.02 per barrel.

Both benchmarks settled more than 7% lower in the previous session.

— CNBC’s Samantha Subin, Sarah Min, Sam Meredith, Elliot Smith and Carmen Reinicke contributed to this report.

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