Monday, January 17th, 2022

Chinese factory activity data for November, oil prices


SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific mostly rose in Tuesday trade as Japanese stocks led gains regionally, with investors reacting to the release of Chinese factory activity data for November.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.26% while the Topix index climbed 1.41%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.29% while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.182%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lagged the broader region, slipping 0.37%.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for November came in at 50.1 on Tuesday. That was above expectations by analysts in a Reuters poll for a reading of 49.6.

PMI reading below 50 represent contraction while those above that level signify expansion. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

South Korea’s Kospi stood little changed while the S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.14%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.4% higher.

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Investors in the region also continued to track any developments surrounding the omicron variant, which the World Health Organization said is likely to spread further and poses a “very high” global risk.

Overnight stateside, the major indexes on Wall Street rose after U.S. President Joe Biden said there’s no need for Covid omicron lockdowns for now. The S&P 500 gained 1.32% to 4,655.27 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.88% to 15,782.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 236.60 points to 35,135.94.

Oil jumps 1%

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.01% to $74.18 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 1.1% to $70.72 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.196 after rising to around 96.4 recently.

The Japanese yen traded at 113.75 per dollar, weaker than levels below 113.4 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7145, still struggling to recover after last week’s drop from above $0.725.