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Asia – Pacific Markets Rise; Investors Shift to Stocks, Exit Oil

Stocks in major Asia-Pacific markets were higher on Monday as investors continued to monitor the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led gains among the region’s major markets as it rose 2.41% to close at 30,159.01.

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group, the electric car unit of Evergrande, surged 51.67% on Monday after the firm announced it has lined up investors for a $3.35 billion share placement. China Evergrande Group shares in Hong Kong also jumped 7.27% on the day.

South Korea’s Kospi also saw robust gains as they closed 2.18% higher at 3,208.99.

Mainland Chinese stocks also rose on the day: The Shanghai composite was 0.48% higher at 3,624.24 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.521% to 15,710.19.

Amid the pandemic, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment, according to a report released Sunday from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

China brought in $163 billion in inflows last year, compared to $134 billion attracted by the U.S., according to the report.

Investors also awaited Chinese President Xi Jinping’s keynote address at the Davos Agenda 2021 on Monday night Asia time.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 nudged 0.67% higher to close at 28,822.29 while the Topix index gained 0.29% to finish its trading day at 1,862.

Shares in Australia edged higher on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.36% to 6,824.70 while the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan jumped 1.27%.

Developments around Covid-19 are likely to be watched by investors, as the world races to adapt against the mutating coronavirus which has produced a number of potentially more infectious variants.

In Hong Kong, the government on early Monday lifted a lockdown in an area of the Kowloon district after around 7,000 people were tested for coronavirus, according to Reuters.

Globally, more than 99 million people have been infected by Covid-19 and at least 2,127,206 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.144 after seeing a recent decline from levels above 90.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.73 per dollar following levels below 103.5 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.773, off levels above $0.776 seen last week.

Oil & Commodities in Asia

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.47% at $55.67 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.55% to $52.56 per barrel.