Asian stocks were mixed on Friday as concerns about the region’s economy deepened and Japan reported higher-than-expected inflation.
Benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, but rose in Sydney and Shanghai.
Investors are eyeing China’s lockdowns and restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus, as China’s direction will have a major impact on the rest of Asia.
Stephen Innes, Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said: “Reopening policies have revolved around China, which will be a gradual process. COVID control measures will vary. between cities, but active top-down approaches will continue”.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.3% in afternoon trading to 28,288.38. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to 7,259.50. South Korea’s Kospi was little changed, down less than 0.1%, at 2,440.41. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.9% to 17,507.03. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.3% to 3,099.19.
Tokyo inflation data for November beat analysts’ expectations, with the core consumer price index rising 3.6%, the highest level in more than four decades.
The Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world have raised interest rates to try to contain decades of high inflation. But the Bank of Japan has opposed tightening monetary policy, a move intended to combat inflationary pressures by discouraging businesses and consumers from borrowing.
IG’s Jun Rong Yeap said in a commentary: “With the Bank of Japan being one of the few outliers that have yet to embark on a rate hike, the pivot point will be an important question this year. next”.
The rising number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in what experts call an eighth wave, in Japan and other Asian countries, are also weighing on investor sentiment, but both two is still relatively low so far. Many people in Japan and those countries have been vaccinated.
Shares ended higher on Thursday in France, Germany and the UK. US markets are closed for Thanksgiving. Wall Street will have a short trading session on Friday.
In energy trading, the price of U.S. benchmark crude rose 50 cents to $78.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose from $3.01 to $77.94 a barrel on Thursday.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 32 cents to $85.66 a barrel in London.
In currency trading, the US dollar rose from 138.58 Japanese yen to 138.68 Japanese yen. The euro is priced at $1.0407, down slightly from $1.0411.