Major mainland China and Hong Kong lead losses in mixed Asia trading

SINGAPORE – Shares in mainland China and Hong Kong led losses in mixed Asia-Pacific trading on Wednesday as investors continue to assess the potential economic ramifications of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 1.33% in afternoon trade.

The Shanghai composite in mainland China fell 0.96% and the Shenzhen component declined 0.981%. The CSI 300 index, which tracks the largest mainland-listed stocks, shed 0.7%. All three indexes had previously fallen more than 3% each.

Official data released Wednesday showed China’s producer inflation rising in February, with the producer price index increasing 8.8% year-on-year for that month. The February data compared against January’s 9.1% on-year rise, and was close to expectations of analysts in a Reuters poll for an 8.7% gain.

Meanwhile, China’s consumer price index for February rose 0.9% as compared with a year ago, unchanged from the growth in January and inline with expectations from a Reuters poll.

Elsewhere in Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.3% on the day to 24,717.53 while the Topix index was fractionally lower at 1,758.89.

The S & P / ASX 200 in Australia jumped 1.04% to close at 7,053. Over in Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times index gained 1.29% in afternoon trade.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.1%.

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Markets in South Korea are closed on Wednesday due to the country’s presidential election.

Oil prices jumped to their session highs on Tuesday after President Joe Biden said the US will ban imports of Russian oil, a further escalation in the international response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The United Kingdom also announced its own plans to phase out its reliance on Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

Investors in the region continued monitoring oil prices on Wednesday, which rose in the afternoon of Asia trading hours.

International benchmark Brent crude futures climbed 2.79% to $ 131.55 per barrel. US crude futures gained 2.4% to $ 126.67 per barrel.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 184.74 points, or 0.56%, to 32,632.64. The S&P 500 declined 0.72% to 4,170.70 while the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.28% to 12,795.55.

Currencies

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.929 – having traded in a range between 98.7 and 99.4 so far this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.75 per dollar, weaker than levels below 115.2 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7286, having declined from above $ 0.738 earlier this week.

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