Markets in Asia were mixed with the mainland China declining more than 1% on Wednesday’s open before closing mixed amid the ongoing Evergrande crisis, as markets reopened for trade after a two-day holiday.
With global markets selling off earlier this week, investors kept a close watch on the China markets for any fallout surrounding the embattled developer.
Both the Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen component dropped more than 1% in early trade, before easing off on some of those losses. The Shanghai composite shed all earlier losses and closed 0.4% higher at 3,628.49 while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.573% to about 14,277.08.
Meanwhile, the CSI 300 index that tracks the largest stocks listed on the mainland declined 0.7% on the day to 4,821.77.
Markets in Hong Kong were closed for a holiday. On Monday, the Hang Seng had plunged more than 3% before paring some losses on Tuesday.
“Investors will look for signs of intervention by government to prevent a disorderly default by property company Evergrande. Market turmoil surrounding the developer intensified in the past trading sessions as investors interpreted government’s silence hitherto on the distressed firm as a lack of official support,” Singapore bank DBS wrote in a note on Wednesday.
Evergrande’s shares in Hong Kong had slumped 10.6% on Monday and Tuesday combined, taking year-to-date losses to 85%, the bank noted.
Investor sentiment may have been soothed on Wednesday after Evergrande unit Hengda announced it will make a coupon payment on its domestic bonds on Thursday. Still, questions remain over whether the interest on Evergrande’s offshore U.S.-dollar denominated bond — also due Thursday — will be made.
The People’s Bank of China on Wednesday injected substantially more liquidity into the markets through “reverse repurchase agreements,” or buying short-term bonds from some commercial lenders so banks have more cash on hand, data from the central bank showed.
China on Wednesday also kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged, with the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) held steady at 3.85%. The five-year LPR remained at 4.65%. That was largely in line with expectations of traders and analysts in a snap poll who predicted no change to both the one-year and five-year LPR, according to Reuters.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.67% to close at 29,639.40 while the Topix index shed 1.02% to finish the trading day at 2,043.55.
The Taiex in Taiwan dropped 2.03% on the day to 16,925.82. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.32% higher to close at 7,296.90. South Korea was closed for a holiday while the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.31%.
The Bank of Japan on Wednesday held steady on monetary policy, keeping its short-term interest rate target at -0.1% while that for 10-year Japanese government bond yields was kept at around 0%.
The Japanese central bank warned in its monetary policy statement that the employment and income situation “remained weak” due to the Covid impact, while private consumption has “remained stagnant” due to sustained strong downward pressure on services consumption.
The Japanese yen traded at 109.51 per dollar, having strengthened from around 110 against the greenback earlier this week.
Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 50.63 points to 33,919,84 while the S&P 500 declined around 0.1% to 4,354.19. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed, rising 0.22% to 14,746.40.
Investors look ahead to the policy statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve, expected Wednesday stateside, for signals on when the central bank could taper its bond purchase program.
Asian Markets Currencies & Oil
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.53% to $75.50 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 1.72% to $71.70 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.209 after sliding from levels above 93.3 earlier in the week.
The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7254, against an earlier low of $0.7221.