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Asian Markets Edge Lower, U.S Inflation Higher Than Expected in June

Shares in Asia-Pacific mostly slipped on Wednesday following a hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation report released overnight.

The Shanghai Composite in mainland China fell 1.07% to close at 3,528.50 while the Shenzhen component fell 0.875% to end the trading day at 15,056.32. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.69%, as of its final hour of trading.

asian markets
Shanghai Composite Index Performance Chart

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.38% lower at 28,608.49 while the Topix index fell 0.23% on the day to 1,963.16. The Kospi in South Korea dipped 0.2% to close at 3,264.81.

Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.31% higher at 7,354.70. While MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.25%.

In other developments, Singapore’s economy grew 14.3% year-on-year in the second quarter, official advanced estimates showed Wednesday. It was slightly above economist expectations for a 14.2% year-on-year jump, according to a Reuters poll.

Still, the economy contracted by 2% as compared with the previous quarter, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

The losses stateside came after the U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday that in June inflation surged at its fastest pace in nearly 13 years. Consumer prices increased 5.4% in June as compared with a year earlier — the largest monthly gain since August 2008.

The New Zealand dollar jumped 1.09% to $0.7021. The gains came after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced a reduction in the current level of monetary stimulus, with additional asset purchases under the Large Scale Asset Purchase program to be halted by July 23.

Asian Market Currencies and Oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.627 after a recent rise from below 92.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.47 per dollar, weaker than levels around 110 against the greenback seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7461, lower than levels around $0.75 seen yesterday.

Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping fractionally to $76.43 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.21% to $75.09 per barrel.