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Asian Pacific Stocks Edge Lower as Hang Seng Index Falls.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were largely lower on Wednesday as concerns over the prevailing pandemic.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was one of the biggest losers among the region’s major markets, closing 2.03% lower at 27,918.14. Today’s losses left the index in correction territory as it was more than 10% lower than the 52-week high set in mid-February.

Asia stocks 24-03-2021
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 2.04% to close at 28,405.52 while the Topix index declined 2.18% to finish its trading day at 1,928.58.

Mainland Chinese stocks also fell on the day, with the Shanghai Composite down 1.3% to 3,367.06 while the Shenzhen component shed 1.469% to 13,407.35.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi slid 0.28% to finish its trading day at 2,996.35.

Shares in Australia bucked the overall trend regionally as the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% to close at 6,778.80.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 1.22%.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization said Many regions globally see an increase in new Covid-19 cases as highly contagious variants continue to spread, causing distress in many parts of the world.

In Europe, authorities continue to struggle with the virus as the region battles a third Covid wave, with other countries enforcing lockdowns to curb the virus’s spread.

On the other hand, shares of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group in Hong Kong plunged 4.83%. The moves came after Hong Kong and Macao announced they were suspending BioNTech Covid vaccinations. Fosun Pharma is BioNTech’s partner in developing and distributing the Community Covid-19 vaccine in greater China.

Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent’s stock in Hong Kong slipped 0.8% on Wednesday. Citing people with direct knowledge that the firm’s founder met with China’s antitrust watchdog officials this month to discuss compliance at his group.

In Taiwan, shares of chipmaking powerhouse Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company declined 3.03%. That came after Intel announced it would spend $20 billion to build two new chip factories in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Chinese streaming company Bilibili announced Tuesday that it would raise 20.2 billion Hong Kong dollars (about $2.6 billion) in its upcoming Hong Kong secondary listing after pricing its shares at 808 Hong Kong dollars each. Shares of Bilibili are expected to begin trading in Hong Kong on Monday.

Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.593, following a rise from levels below 91.8 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.59 per dollar compared to levels around 108.9 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7601 after declining yesterday from above $0.768.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.6% to $61.76 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 1.66% to $58.72 per barrel.

Read also: Asian Markets Slip Amidst Rising Inflation Fears.