Asia-Pacific markets are fighting for profits, Covid in focus

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A man looks at an electronic board with stock information on the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday, February 6, 2018.

Brendon Thorne | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Australian stocks traded almost unchanged early Monday as investors focus on the country’s Covid-19 situation.

The ASX 200 benchmark rose slightly to 7,543.70. The Australian dollar traded hands against the greenback at $ 0.7332, down 0.29%. The Aussie fell from levels above $ 0.7400 after a resurgent dollar on Friday on strong non-farm wage data.

Australia reported 280 new Covid cases over a 24-hour period on Sunday, most of them in the populous state of New South Wales. According to reports, around 15 million people, or 60% of the country’s population, are under strict lockdown.

In South Korea, the Kospi index lost 0.44% while the Kosdaq lost 0.35%.

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New hires in the United States rose as quickly in July as it has for almost a year, despite fears about the Covid-19 Delta variant and shortage of labor.

“The market reacted positively to the strong wage data outside of agriculture, with an increase in risk (not always the case this year),” analysts from ANZ Research said in a statement on Monday morning.

“The strength of the data confirms the Fed’s view that the labor market will remain buoyant throughout the summer despite concerns about the Delta variant,” the analysts wrote, adding that there is still a long way to go before employment , Friday’s numbers offset some of the pessimism that had built up.

The markets in Japan and Singapore are closed on public holidays.

China’s export growth slowed unexpectedly in July, while imports also lost momentum. Exports were up 19.3% year over year, compared to a 32.2% increase in June and a 20.8% market forecast, Reuters reported. Imports rose 28.1% year over year, less than a market forecast of 33%.

“Extreme weather conditions and local Covid outbreaks have not helped, while supply disruptions have also hampered export activities,” Rodrigo Catril, a senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a morning note.

China is expected to release inflation data on Monday.

The lack of consumer inflationary pressures “is not an obstacle to further monetary easing, an issue that is likely to attract more attention if the incoming data flow shows further economic slowdown,” said Catril.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar was trading at 92.887 HK / SIN at 8:22 a.m. against a basket of its competitors.

Oil prices fell Monday morning during Asian trading hours. US crude fell 1.77% to $ 67.07 a barrel, while the global benchmark Brent fell 1.71% to $ 69.49.