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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumps 2%; data show China factory activity growth slowed in February

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SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific traded higher on Monday, as data releases showed China’s manufacturing activity growth slowing in February.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 2.36% in morning trade, as the index attempted to recover from its nearly 4% plunge on Friday. The Topix index gained 1.7%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher, as the Shanghai composite gained 0.89% while the Shenzhen component jumped 2.03%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.44%.

Stocks in Australia edged higher as the S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.44%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.98% higher.

South Korea’s markets are closed on Monday for a holiday.

China manufacturing PMI

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for February came in at 50.6 over the weekend, according to data released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

That was lower than January’s reading of 51.3 but still above the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.

A private survey released Monday also showed China’s manufacturing activity in February growing at a slower pace.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 50.9, a decline from January’s reading of 51.5.

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

Bond yields fall

The moves in Asia-Pacific markets came as bond yields fell.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note declined to as low of 1.383%, last trading at 1.4169%. Prices move inversely to yields.

In Asia-Pacific, the yield on the Australian 10-year bond slipped to 1.652%, having seen levels above 1.8% last week. The 10-year Japanese government bond‘s yield also declined to 0.155%.

Oil prices jump

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.92% to $65.66 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 1.9% to $62.67 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.812 after recovering from levels below 90 in late February.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.60 per dollar, weaker than levels below 105.6 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7752, having slipped from levels above $0.792 last week.

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