Asian Markets Rise on New Year Trading Backed by Strong China Economic PMI

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher on Monday while oil prices jumped as the first trading day of 2021 kicked off.

Mainland Chinese stocks rose on the day: The Shanghai composite gained 0.86% to 3,502.96 while the Shenzhen component soared 2.466% to 14,827.47.

A private survey released Monday showed Chinese manufacturing activity expanding in December, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the month coming in at 53.0. That compared against November’s reading of 54.9. The 50-level in PMI readings separates expansion from contraction.

China’s official manufacturing PMI released Thursday showed the country’s factory activity expanding in December, albeit at a slower pace compared to November’s reading.

Elsewhere, in South Korea, the Kospi jumped 2.47% to close at 2,944.45.

Japanese shares lagged the broader gains in the region, as the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.68% to close at 13,091.64 while the Topix index shed 0.56% to end its trading day at 1,794.59.

Stocks in Australia rose, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.47% to close at 6,684.20.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 1.29%.

Shares of Chinese property developers listed in Hong Kong saw sharp declines after the People’s Bank of China recently issued a regulation to cap property loans by banks. China Evergrande Group shares in Hong Kong plunged 5.1% while Sunac China dropped 5.41% and China Vanke fell 2.99%.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications firms were mixed on Monday after the New York Stock Exchange’s announcement on Thursday that it will delist China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom Hong Kong.

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Mobile edged 0.79% lower while China Unicom advanced 0.45%. China Telecom’s stock slipped 2.79%.

The NYSE’s announcement came after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order in November that barred Americans from investing in companies it alleged were connected to the Chinese military. For its part, China has vowed to respond.

The broader Hang Seng index in the city gained 0.89% to close at 27,472.81.

Developments surrounding the coronavirus likely continued weighing on investor sentiment, as the pandemic rages on globally while vaccines have started being rolled out in some countries.

In Asia, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is considering declaring a state of emergency in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures which have been hit by rising Covid cases, according to Kyodo News.

Social distancing measures were also extended by health authorities in South Korea over the weekend, according to local news agency Yonhap, as the country also dealt with a recent jump in infections.

Oil prices surged in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 2.45% to $53.07 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 2.18% to $49.58 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 89.607 following its recent decline from levels above 90.

The Japanese yen traded at 102.86 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 103.5 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7724 following its rise in the previous trading week from levels below $0.765.