Asia-Pacific stocks rise as investors react to monetary tightening in South Korea, Singapore

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday morning trade as investors look ahead to the release of Australian jobs data for March.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan climbed 0.55% in morning trade while the Topix index advanced 0.37%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.23%. Australian jobs data for March is due at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi dipped fractionally. The Bank of Korea is set to announce its latest interest rate decision at 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.25% higher. Markets in India are closed on Thursday for a holiday.

Investor sentiment in Asia may have been buoyed by the prospect of more support ahead from Chinese authorities after the country’s government announced Wednesday that reserve requirement ratio cuts will be used “at an appropriate time to raise the credit input capacity of banks,” citing details from a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

That development comes as China has in recent weeks been battling its most severe Covid outbreak on the mainland since the initial phase of the pandemic in early 2020.

Investors will monitor Hong Kong-listed shares of CNOOC after Reuters reported Wednesday the Chinese oil firm is preparing to exit operations in multiple Western nations due to fears of sanctions.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 climbed 1.12% to 4,446.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 344.23 points, or 1.01%, to 34,564.59. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 2.03% to 13,643.59.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.789 after a recent decline from above 100.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 125.35 per dollar, stronger than levels above 125.6 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7457 following a recent bounce from levels below $0.744.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.61% to $108.12 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 0.68% to $103.54 per barrel.

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