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Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; private survey shows Chinese factory activity expanding in May

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

Mainland Chinese stocks were little changed, with both the Shanghai composite and Shenzhen component hovering around the flatline. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.2%.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for May came in at 52, higher than expectations for a reading of 51.9 by analysts in a Reuters poll. The figure for May also compared against April’s reading of 51.9.

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.

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.

Mixed Asia-Pacific markets

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.35% in morning trade while the Topix index shed 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.83% higher.

Shares in Australia slipped, with the S&P/ASX 200 declining 0.49%. 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 0.36% higher.

Over in Southeast Asia, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index slipped 0.2% in morning trade. Malaysia’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.

Oil prices jump

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.17% to $70.13 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 1.88% to $67.57 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 89.756 — falling below the 90 level again.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.38 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110 against the greenback seen late last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7763, still below levels above $0.776 seen last week.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN

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