Asia-Pacific markets rise as investors watch deepening Ukraine crisis

SINGAPORE – Shares in Asia-Pacific rose in Wednesday trade as investors continue monitoring the intensifying crisis surrounding Ukraine.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite gaining 0.55% and the Shenzhen component surging 1.313%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.69%.

South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.27%. Elsewhere, the S & P / ASX 200 in Australia recovered from earlier losses, last up 0.34%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.23% higher.

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday Russia has begun “an invasion” of Ukraine and announced sanctions against Russian banks and the country’s sovereign debt, among others. Biden’s announcement came following the Russian parliament’s approval of President Vladimir Putin’s Tuesday request to use military force outside the country’s borders.

“As gripping as the situation in Ukraine is, it does not have a monopoly of the concerns of the markets,” Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank wrote in a Wednesday note.

“A host of other factors, led by monetary policy may be in direct conflict with Ukraine-related haven demand,” he said. “Most prominent is the conflict between an aggressively hawkish Fed that tilts yields higher and haven demand from Ukraine dampens, if not drags, yields.”

The yield on the benchmark US 10-year Treasury note last sat at 1.9407%. The 10-year Treasury has crossed 2% in recent weeks as investors reposition themselves ahead of expected rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve.

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Markets in Japan are closed on Wednesday for a holiday.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 declined 1.01% to 4,304.76 – more than 10% below its Jan. 3 record close, leaving the index in correction territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 482.57 points, or 1.42%, to 33,596.61 while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.23% to 13,381.52.

New Zealand dollar jumps

The New Zealand dollar rose 0.4% on Wednesday to $ 0.6758 after the country’s central bank raised the official cash rate to 1% and said “more monetary tightening was needed” than previously signaled.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.057 after recently falling from above 96.2.

The Japanese yen traded at 115 per dollar, weaker than levels below 114.8 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $ 0.7222 after climbing from below $ 0.72 yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, following a Tuesday surge as tensions rise between Moscow and Kyiv.

On Wednesday afternoon in Asia, international benchmark Brent crude futures gained 0.3% to $ 97.13 per barrel. US crude futures rose 0.3% to $ 92.19 per barrel.

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