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Asia-Pacific stocks edge higher; private survey on Chinese factory activity in May ahead

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were higher in Tuesday morning trade, as investors await the release of a private survey on Chinese manufacturing activity in May.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.65% in early trade while the Topix index gained 0.5% South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.23% higher.

Shares in Australia were little changed, with the S&P/ASX 200 hovering above the flatline. The Reserve Bank of Australia is set to announce its interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN on Tuesday.

MSCi’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.1% higher.

Investors will watch for reaction in Malaysian stocks after the country’s prime minister on Monday announced an additional 40 billion ringgit (about $9.7 billion) stimulus package, just hours before stricter lockdown measures to curb the Covid spread in the country were set to kick in.

China economic data watch

On the economic data front, the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for May is expected to be released at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN on Tuesday.

The official manufacturing PMI for May, released Monday, came in 51.0 — slightly lower than analyst expectations for a reading of 51.1 in a Reuters poll.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 89.788 — falling below the 90 level again.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.48 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110 against the greenback seen late last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7743, still below levels above $0.776 seen last week.

Oil prices were mixed in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures little changed at $69.31 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.87% to $66.90 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN
  • China: Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN

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