Business

Asia-Pacific Stocks Mixed; Data Shows China's Factory Activity Contracted Again in May

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed in Tuesday trade.
  • China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for May came in at 49.6, an improvement over April's reading of 47.4 but still below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.
  • European Union leaders agreed on a fresh sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The agreement would "effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday as investors watched for market reaction to the release of official Chinese factory activity data for May. Oil prices rose after EU leaders agreed to ban 90% of Russian crude.

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The Shanghai Composite in mainland China advanced 1.19% on the day to 3,186.43 while the Shenzhen Component jumped 1.922% to 11,527.62. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 0.89%, as of its final hour of trading.

China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for May came in at 49.6, an improvement over April's reading of 47.4.

The May reading was above the 48.6 level expected from a Reuters poll but still below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

"Things are … improving, but not good enough," Bo Zhuang, senior sovereign analyst at Loomis Sayles, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Tuesday.

The worst of the "growth shock" of the Covid wave in China may be behind, but the country is still seeing "a very gradual, slow progress of the normalization," he said.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.33% lower at 27,279.80 while the Topix index declined 0.51% to 1,912.67. Over in South Korea, the Kospi climbed 0.61%, ending the trading day at 2,685.90.

Australian stocks closed lower as the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.03% to 7,211.20.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged 0.64% higher.

Markets in the U.S. were closed on Monday for a holiday.

Oil prices rise after EU agrees on Russia sanctions

Oil prices were higher during the afternoon of Asia trading hours on Tuesday, after European Union leaders agreed to ban most Russian oil by the end of 2022.

The agreement would "effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet.

International benchmark Brent crude futures gained 1.5% to $123.50 per barrel. U.S. crude futures jumped 3.31% to $118.88 per barrel.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 101.784 — still off levels above 102 seen last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 127.96 per dollar following yesterday's weakening from levels below 127.2 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7181, against an earlier high of $0.7203.

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