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Asia-Pacific markets decline as inflation worries take hold; Japan’s Nissan shares tumble nearly 12%

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The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets were mostly down on Wednesday, as investors remain cautious over growing inflation worries.

Mainland Chinese markets were subdued in early trade. The Shanghai composite was flat, and the Shenzhen component was down 0.45%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index traded almost flat.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.71% after rising earlier, while the Topix index declined 1.08%. Automaker Nissan’s shares tumbled 11.86% in the morning. The company announced on Tuesday that its annual operating loss in the year ended March 31 widened to 150.65 billion yen ($1.38 billion) from a 40 billion yen shortfall in the past year, according to Reuters.

Overall, auto shares in Japan fell on Wednesday morning.

South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.79%.

Down Under, the Australian benchmark ASX 200 fell 1.11% as major banking names came under pressure.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.59%.

“The tech led equity rout that began on Monday’s US trading session extended into our APAC region yesterday and overnight Europe joint the retreat with some heavy losses,” Rodrigo Catril, a senior foreign-exchange strategist at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note.

“Inflation concerns against a backdrop of higher commodity prices was identified as the reason for the US technology led equity sell-off on Monday night,” he said. “That said looking at the data releases over the past 24 hours, one could argue that we had at least one more new evidence that inflation is on the rise.”

China released data on Tuesday that showed factory gate prices rose at the fastest rate in three and a half years in April while consumer prices rose at a more modest pace. That fueled some of the concerns around a rapid rise in inflation that may force central banks to raise interest rates and implement other tightening measures.

Wednesday’s session follows overnight sell-off stateside where the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced its worst day since February.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar rose to trade at 90.291, up from levels near and above 91.00 in the previous week.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 108.82 per dollar, strengthening from last week’s levels above 109.00. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar traded near flat at $0.7819.

Oil prices traded marginally higher on Wednesday during Asian trading hours. U.S. crude futures rose 0.1% to $65.35 a barrel and global benchmark Brent traded nearly flat to $68.60.

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