Shares in major Asia – Pacific markets rose on Monday, as data showed Chinese manufacturing activity growth slowed in July.
Shares of Afterpay in Australia soared 18.77% on Monday after U.S. fintech firm Square announced it had agreed to buy the buy now, pay later giant. The broader S&P/ASX 200 in Australia also saw robust gains as it climbed 1.34% to finish the trading day at 7,491.40.
Elsewhere, mainland Chinese stocks jumped on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 1.97% to 3,464.29 and the Shenzhen component advancing 2.245% to 14,798.16.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 1.06% higher at 26,235.80. Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng saw its Hong Kong-listed shares jump 10.66% after the firm announced Monday a record monthly high for vehicles delivered in July.
Shares of HSBC in Hong Kong rose 0.93% after the lender announced first-half 2021 earnings that beat expectations and announced its second dividend payout since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for July released Monday came in at 50.3, much lower than expectations by analysts in a Reuters poll for a reading of 51.1. The Caixin manufacturing PMI figure had come in at 51.3 in June.
China’s official manufacturing PMI released over the weekend also showed factory activity growth slowing in July, with the figure for the month coming in at 50.4 versus June’s reading of 50.9.
PMI readings above 50 represent expansion, while those below that level signal contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contractions.
Elsewhere in Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.82% to close at 27,781.02 while the Topix index gained 2.05% on the day to 1,940.05. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.65% higher at 3,223.04.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged 1.16% higher.
Investors also monitored the Covid situation regionally. More areas in Japan entered a Covid-19 state of emergency on Monday due to a spike in virus cases, according to local news agency Kyodo News.
Meanwhile, Chinese state media reported that governments at various levels across the country have taken virus containment measures following a resurgence in infections that reportedly started in the city of Nanjing.
Asian Markets Currencies & Oil
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.97% to $74.68 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 1.03% to $73.19 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers in asia, was at 92.003 after a recent decline from levels above 92.4.
The Japanese yen traded at 109.66 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7358, having slipped from levels above $0.738 late last week.