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Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; China says its manufacturing activity grew at a slightly slower pace in May

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Monday morning trade, as investors reacted to the release of China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for May.

Mainland Chinese stocks slipped in early trade, with the Shanghai composite shedding about 0.5% while the Shenzhen component dipped fractionally. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.47%.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for May came in at 51.0. That compared against analyst expectations for a reading of 51.1 in a Reuters poll. The May figure was also a slight decrease from the previous month’s reading of 51.1.

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

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.71% while the Topix index shed 0.56%.

Japan’s retail sales rose 12% in April as compared with a year earlier, according to government data released Monday .That was against a median market forecast for a 15.3% rise, according to Reuters.

South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.14% lower. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was little changed.

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

Malaysia markets drop

Over in Southeast Asia, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index fell more than 1%. Those losses came as the country is set for a nationwide lockdown from June 1-14 following a spike in Covid infections nationally.

The Malaysian ringgit weakened to 4.141 per dollar, as compared to levels below 4.135 against the greenback seen late last week.

Markets in the U.S. are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.012 after a recent spike to levels above 90.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.68 per dollar, after weakening late last week to levels above 110 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7717, lower than levels above $0.776 seen last week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.29% to $68.92 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.44% to $66.61 per barrel.

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