Asia Markets

Asian Pacific Stocks Mixed, Australia Reports a Trade Surplus

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday trade as Australia reported a higher-than-expected trade surplus in July.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia shed 0.72%. Australia recorded a trade surplus of 12.117 billion Australian dollars (about $8.93 billion) in July, according to data released Thursday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That was much higher than the 10.2 billion Australian dollars surplus projected in a Reuters poll.

Elsewhere, mainland Chinese stocks were mixed, with the Shanghai composite up 0.55% while the Shenzhen component shed 0.316%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index hovered fractionally higher.

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Shanghai Composite Index Performance Chart

Chinese regulators summoned and interviewed 11 ride-hailing firms asking them to rectify non-compliant behaviour. Companies that were interviewed by the Ministry of Transport and other regulators included Didi and Meituan.

Meituan shares in Hong Kong were 0.63% higher by Thursday afternoon in the city. Shares of other Chinese tech firms in Hong Kong were also largely in positive territory: Tencent jumped 1.68%, and Alibaba rose 2.3%. The Hang Seng Tech index advanced 1.33%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.32%, while the Topix index was fractionally higher. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.76%. While the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.13%.

In Covid vaccine developments, Moderna and Takeda Pharmaceutical announced Wednesday they were working with Japanese authorities to recall several batches after stainless steel contaminants were discovered in some vials. Takeda Pharmaceutical shares in Japan fell about 1% in Thursday trade.

Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.516 — off levels above 92.7, seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 110 per dollar, stronger than levels around 110.4 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7365, having climbed from below $0.73 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.22% to $71.43 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped 0.35% to $68.35 per barrel.

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