Market Overview

Asia-Pacific markets trade mixed as oil prices tumble more than 3%

Asia-Pacific markets trade mixed as oil prices tumble more than 3%

Asia-Pacific markets broadly struggled for gains on Monday as investors kept an eye on the Covid-19 situation across the region while oil prices tumbled 3%. Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 was unable to hold on to modest gains and finished flat at 7,538.40. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7354 against the greenback, climbing from an earlier level around $0.7326. The Aussie fell from levels above $0.7400 following a resurgent dollar Friday on the back of strong nonfarm payrolls data.

Australia reported 280 new Covid cases over a 24-hour period on Sunday, with most of them in the populous state of New South Wales. Reports said that about 15 million people, or 60% of the country’s population, are under a strict lockdown. In South Korea, the Kospi index slipped 0.3% to 3,260.42. The Kosdaq finished near flat at 1,060. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index reduced earlier gains of near 1% to trade up 0.37% at 26,275.64. Chinese mainland shares traded higher: The Shanghai composite rose 1.05% to 3,494.63 while the Shenzhen component added 0.77% to 14,941.44.

The Monday session in Asia follows after U.S. jobs data on Friday showed hiring rose at its fastest pace in nearly a year in July despite fears over the Covid-19 delta variant and tight labor supply issues. China’s export growth unexpectedly slowed in July while imports also lost momentum. Exports rose 19.3% from a year ago, compared with a 32.2% gain in June and versus a market forecast of a 20.8% gain, Reuters reported. Imports rose 28.1% from a year earlier, less than a market forecast of a 33% increase.

China reported data on Monday that showed consumer inflation slowed slightly, Reuters reported. The consumer price index in July rose 1% from a year ago, versus a 1.1% gain in the prior month and below the government target of around 3% this year, the news wire said.

The U.S. dollar traded at 92.751 against a basket of its peers as of 4:02 p.m. HK/SIN, slipping from an earlier level around 92.921. Oil prices fell more than 3% on Monday afternoon during Asian trading hours, as sentiment was likely weighed by a relatively strong dollar and worries that rising coronavirus cases could push back a recovery in fuel demand. U.S. crude was down 3.49% at $65.9 a barrel while global benchmark Brent fell 3.34% to $68.34.

Asia-Pacific markets trade mixed as oil prices tumble more than 3%, CNBC, Aug 9

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