Asian Pacific Stocks Lower, Taiwan Markets Lead Losses.
Asia-Pacific shares were mostly down on Wednesday, as Taiwan’s markets tumbled after authorities said they may raise its COVID-19 alert level after an outbreak in recent days.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange fell 4.11%. Its health minister said on Wednesday, that Taiwan may raise its COVID-19 alert level in the “coming days” after it experienced an unusual outbreak of six new cases with no clear infection source. The territory had kept the pandemic well under control before this cluster.
Japanese automaker Nissan’s shares tumbled 10%. The company announced Tuesday that its annual operating loss in the year ending March 31 widened to 150.65 billion yen ($1.38 billion) from a 40 billion yen shortfall in the past year.
Overall, auto shares in Japan fell on Wednesday morning, except Toyota Motor which was up more than 2%.
South Korea’s Kospi index fell 1.49% to close at 3,161.66.
Mainland Chinese markets were mixed. The Shanghai Composite closed 0.61% higher at 3,462.75, and the Shenzhen component rose 0.70% to close at 14,064.86. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.67% in the afternoon.
Down Under, the Australian benchmark ASX 200 declined 0.73% as major banking names came under pressure. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost about 0.73%.
“The tech led equity rout that began on Monday’s US trading session extended into our APAC region yesterday and overnight Europe joint the retreat with some heavy losses. Inflation concerns against a backdrop of higher commodity prices was identified as the reason for the US technology led equity sell-off on Monday night.” Rodrigo Catril, a senior foreign-exchange strategist at the National Australia Bank.
China released data on Tuesday that showed factory gate prices rose at the fastest rate in three and a half years in April while consumer prices rose at a more modest pace. That fueled some of the concerns around a rapid rise in inflation that may force central banks to raise interest rates and implement other tightening measures.
Asian Markets Currencies and Oil
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar rose to trade at 90.277, up from levels near and above 91.00 in the previous week.
The Japanese yen changed hands at 108.73 per dollar, strengthening from last week’s levels above 109.00. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar rose against the dollar to $0.7814.
Oil prices rose on Wednesday during Asian trading hours. U.S. crude futures traded 1.03% higher at $65.92 per barrel and global benchmark Brent also jumped 0.95% to $69.19.