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Asian Pacific Stocks Mixed Amidst Inflation Concerns.

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Tuesday afternoon trade with major markets in Japan and China still closed for holidays.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.25% by the afternoon. In Taiwan, the Taiex looked poised for another day of losses as it dropped 2.05%.

asian markets
Hang Seng Index Performance Chart

Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.23%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.43% higher.

Investors also continued to monitor the Covid-19 situation in India as it shows little signs of slowing down. The World Health Organization said last week that one in every three new coronavirus cases globally is being reported in India. In morning trade, the Nifty 50 edged about 0.1% higher.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday announced its decision to maintain its current policy settings, including keeping the cash rate at 0.1%.

Meanwhile, official data released Tuesday showed Australia’s trade surplus narrowing in March. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus for March came in at 5.574 billion Australian dollars (about $4.31 billion), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That was a more than 2 billion Australian dollar decline from February.

Economists had forecast a trade surplus of 8 billion Australian dollars.

Markets in China, Japan and Thailand, are closed on Tuesday for holidays.

Asian markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.139, following an earlier low of 90.986.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.26 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 108.6 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7741, following levels below $0.772 seen yesterday.

Oil prices added to overnight gains on Tuesday, as more U.S. states eased lockdowns and the European Union sought to attract more travellers, which would help offset weakened fuel demand in India as COVID-19 cases soar.

Brent crude futures rose 14 cents, or 0.2%, to $67.70 a barrel at 0150 GMT, after climbing 1.2% on Monday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures also rose 14 cents, or 0.2%, to $64.63 a barrel, after gaining 1.4% on Monday