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Asian Market Lower, Investors React to Japan’s Revised Q1 Data

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly lower on Tuesday, as investors reacted to the release of Japan’s revised first-quarter gross domestic product figures.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan shed 0.19% to close at 28,963.56 while the Topix index rose about 0.1% on the day to 1,962.65.

asia markets
Nikkei 225 index Performance chart

Revised government data released Tuesday showed Japan’s economy shrank 3.9% in the first quarter, an improvement from the initial estimate of a 5.1% contraction. The revised gross domestic product compared against economists’ median forecast in a Reuters poll for a 4.8% contraction.

“We expect the economy will experience another contraction in Q2 given the extended restrictions, which will weigh heavily especially on the services sector. However, we remain optimistic that the pace of recovery will pick up in H2 as domestic demand recovers, supported by increased vaccinations, while foreign demand should continue to support the manufacturing sector.” Makoto Tsuchiya, the assistant economist at Oxford Economics

Mainland Chinese stocks closed lower, with the Shanghai composite declining 0.54% to 3,580.11 while the Shenzhen component fell 0.98% to 14,716.98.

Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dipped around 0.1%, as of its final hour of trading.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.13% to end the trading day at 3,247.83. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.15% higher at 7,292.60.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares slipped 0.23%.

Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.158 following an earlier low of 89.955.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.48 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7741, largely holding on to gains after last week’s climb from below $0.768.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures dipping 0.62% to $71.05 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 0.61% to $68.81 per barrel.