Asian Markets Meet China COVID-19 Lockdown, Japanese Inflation In Focus


TOKYO (AP) – Asian stocks were mixed Friday as concerns about the regional economy intensified and Japan reported higher-than-expected inflation.

Benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, but rose in Sydney and Shanghai. Oil prices rose.

Investors are keeping an eye on China’s lockdown and restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection, as the direction China takes will have a huge impact on the rest of Asia.

β€œThe reopening policy is running in China, which will be a gradual process. COVID control measures will vary by city, but the positive top-down approach will continue,” said Stephen Innes, Managing Partner at SPI Asset Management.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.35%, fell 0.3% to 28,286.40 in morning trading. The Australian S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.24% was up 0.3% to 7,262.40. The South Korean Kospi closed at 2,438.19, down 180721, -0.08% up 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.68%, fell 0.0% to close at 17,499.71. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.44, rose 0.2% to 3,098.06.

Tokyo inflation data for November beat analysts’ expectations, with the main consumer price index rising 3.6%, the highest in more than four decades.

The Federal Reserve and the world’s other central banks have raised interest rates to try to contain decades of high inflation. But the Bank of Japan has resisted monetary policy tightening, a move that would counter inflationary pressures by discouraging borrowing from businesses and consumers.

“Since the Bank of Japan is one of the few external factors that has not triggered the rate hike process, the pivot point will be a key issue next year,” IG’s Jun Rong Yep said in a comment.

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Shares in France, Germany and Great Britain were higher on Thursday. US markets were closed for Thanksgiving. Wall Street will hold a brief session on Friday.

In energy trading, the benchmark US crude CL.1, +0.37%, rose 46 cents to $78.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, it registered a decline from $3.01 to $77.94 a barrel. Brent crude BRN00, the international standard, +0.12%, rose 29 cents to $85.55 a barrel in London.

In currency trading, the US dollar was up -0.05% to 138.64 Japanese yen (USDJPY) from 138.58 yen. The euro EURUSD, +0.03% was priced at $1.0410, down from $1.0411.




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