Markets

Shares in Asia-Pacific Mixed; Australia Records Higher-Than-Expected Trade Surplus in July

Soichiro Koriyama | Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Australia recorded a trade surplus of 12.117 billion Australian dollars (about $8.93 billion) in July, according to data released Thursday by the country's Bureau of Statistics.
  • Chinese regulators summoned and interviewed 11 ride-hailing firms asking them to rectify non-compliant behavior. Companies jointly interviewed by the Ministry of Transport and other regulators included Didi and Meituan. Still, Meituan shares in Hong Kong were fractionally higher on Thursday.
  • In Covid vaccine developments, Moderna and Takeda Pharmaceutical announced Wednesday they are working with Japanese authorities to recall several batches after stainless steel contaminants were discovered in some vials.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday as Australia reported a higher-than-expected trade surplus in July.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.55% lower at 7,485.70. Australia recorded a trade surplus of 12.117 billion Australian dollars (about $8.93 billion) in July, according to data released Thursday by the country's Bureau of Statistics. That was much higher than the 10.2 billion Australian dollars surplus projected in a Reuters poll.

Elsewhere, mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed, with the Shanghai composite up 0.84% to 3,597.04 while the Shenzhen component shed 0.257% to 14,277.34. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 0.24% higher at 26,090.43.

Chinese regulators summoned and interviewed 11 ride-hailing firms asking them to rectify non-compliant behavior. Companies that were interviewed by the Ministry of Transport and other regulators included Didi and Meituan.

Meituan shares in Hong Kong were fractionally higher on Thursday. Shares of other Chinese tech firms in Hong Kong also largely saw gains on the day: Tencent jumped 1.56% and Alibaba rose 3.51%. The Hang Seng Tech index advanced 1.61% to 6,801.47.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.33% higher at 28,543.51 while the Topix index finished the trading day 0.14% higher at 1,983.57. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.97% to close at 3,175.85.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sat above the flatline.

In Covid vaccine developments, Moderna and Takeda Pharmaceutical announced Wednesday they were working with Japanese authorities to recall several batches after stainless steel contaminants were discovered in some vials. Takeda Pharmaceutical shares in Japan fell 1.05% on Thursday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.428 — off levels above 92.7 seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.01 per dollar, stronger than levels around 110.4 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7388, having climbed from below $0.73 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.25% to $71.78 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.23% to $68.75 per barrel.

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