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Asia-Pacific Shares Mixed as Investors Express Caution Over COVID-19 Pandemic

James Hyerczyk
·2-min read

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Friday as investors continued to assess the impact of the new surge of coronavirus cases on the global economic recovery.

Japan’s Nikkei finished lower following the release of a report on core consumer inflation. Australia was pressured by a weak financial sector. China held its lending benchmark loan prime rate steady for the 7th straight month, in line with market expectations.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 25527.37, down 106.97 or -0.42%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26451.54, up 94.57, up +0.36% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2553.50, up 6.08 or +0.24%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3377.73, up 14.64 or +0.44% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index closed at 6539.20, down 8.00 or -0.12%.

Japan’s Consumer Prices Fall at Fastest Pace in Decade, Reviving Deflation Fears

Japan’s core consumer prices fell in October at their fastest annual pace in nearly a decade as the boost from last year’s sales tax hike petered out, heightening fears of a return to deflation for an economy still dealing with COVID-19.

Analysts expect consumer prices to continue falling in coming months due to sluggish consumption, casting doubt on the central bank’s view Japan will eventually see prices bounce back towards the central bank’s elusive 2% inflation target.

China Keeps Lending Benchmark Loan Prime Rate Steady for 7th Straight Month as Expected

China left its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans unchanged for a seventh straight month at its November fixing on Friday, matching market expectations.

The one-year loan prime rate (LPR) was kept unchanged at 3.85%, while the five-year LPR remained at 4.65%.

Hong Kong Shares Edge Up on Consumer and Material Boost; Post Third Consecutive Weekly Gain

Hong Kong shares edged up on Friday to post their third consecutive weekly advance, led by consumer and material stocks, tracking mainland gains on upbeat data and policy support during the week.

The top gainer on the Hang Seng was WuXi Biologics Inc, which gained 5.57%, while the biggest loser was China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd, which fell 3.79%.

For the week, the HIS rose 1.13%, while the HSCE up 0.1%, as investors cheered news of Beijing’s pledge to boost domestic consumption and promote an innovation-driven growth model to salvage a pandemic-ravaged economy.

China will promote economic growth to a “reasonable” range while pursuing higher quality development, Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying on Tuesday night by state radio.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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