Markets

Asia Markets Mixed; Drugmaker Hutchmed Debuts in Hong Kong

Buddhika Weerasinghe | Getty Images
  • Asian markets were mixed in Wednesday trade.
  • China-based drugmaker Hutchmed made its debut in Hong Kong.
  • In a Hong Kong exchange filing, China's biggest bad-debt manager Huarong Asset Management said it cannot estimate when it will publish its 2020 financial results.
  • Oil prices continue to rise this week after hitting their highest level since 2018 last week.

SINGAPORE — Major Asian markets were mixed by the close on Wednesday, with oil prices continuing to rise. Meanwhile, China released its data on manufacturing activity in the morning.

Mainland Chinese stocks rose by the afternoon. The Shanghai composite was up 0.50% to close at 3,591.20, while the Shenzhen component jumped 1.08% to 15,161.70.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was subdued, edging down 0.41% in the afternoon. China-based drugmaker Hutchmed made its debut in Hong Kong, trading around 64.50 Hong Kong dollars ($8.31) — up more than 60% from its offer price.

In a Hong Kong exchange filing, China's biggest bad-debt manager Huarong Asset Management said it cannot estimate when it will publish its 2020 financial results. The firm said "auditors will need more information and time to complete" the audit procedures. It said, however, that failure to provide the results does not constitute a default.

There have been concerns over the creditworthiness of the state-owned firm, which saw its dollar bonds plunge earlier this year. Trading of its shares has been suspended since April 1.

Meanwhile, China's official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) grew at a slower clip in June — hit by a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the major export province of Guangdong that led to port disruptions.

The reading eased to 50.9 in June from 51 in May, according to Reuters. The 50-point mark separates growth from contraction.

"The latest survey readings are consistent with our view that the pace of growth will wane this year now that the economy is already above its pre-virus trend," Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note. "Foreign demand for Chinese consumer goods is likely to drop back further over the coming quarters as vaccine rollouts allow global consumption patterns to normalise."

Other Asia markets

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed just below the flatline to 28,791.53, and the Topix edged down 0.3% to 1,943.57.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.3% to close at 3,296.68. Tech stocks jumped, with SK Hynix up 2% and LG Electronics rising 1.55%.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.16% to 7,313.00. Major mining names closed in positive territory, with Rio Tinto jumping 1.31% and Fortescue Metals jumping nearly 1%.

Oil prices continue to rise

Oil prices continue to rise this week after hitting their highest level since 2018 last week.

On Wednesday afternoon during Asia hours, international benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.16% to $74.88 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures jumped 0.42% to $73.29 per barrel.

"For Malaysia, in contrast to India, the rise in global oil prices will be a welcome development," Mizuho Bank wrote in a note on Wednesday. Malaysia is a key oil exporter in the region. Its 2021 budget assumes oil prices of $42 a barrel and prices are now above $73 a barrel, creating some extra revenue for the country, the bank noted.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.057 — jumping from levels above 91.7 seen earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.47 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110.8 seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7516, down from levels around 0.758 seen earlier this week.

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