Asia-Pacific markets mixed; RBA holds steady on policy settings

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday, with major markets in Japan and China still closed for holidays.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.65% as of its final hour of trading. In Taiwan, the Taiex saw another day of losses as it dropped 1.68% to close at 16,933.78.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.64% higher at 3,147.37. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.56% higher to finish its trading day at 7,067.90.

Investors also continued to monitor the Covid-19 situation in India as it shows little signs of slowing down. The World Health Organization said last week that one in every three new coronavirus cases globally is being reported in India. Both the Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex gained 0.16% each, as of 12:40 p.m. local time.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.21%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday announced its decision to maintain its current policy settings, including keeping the cash rate at 0.1%.

Meanwhile, official data released Tuesday showed Australia’s trade surplus narrowing in March. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus for March came in at 5.574 billion Australian dollars (about $4.31 billion), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That was a more than 2 billion Australian dollar decline from February.

Economists had forecast a trade surplus of 8 billion Australian dollars, according to a Reuters poll.

Markets in China, Japan and Thailand were closed on Tuesday for holidays.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 238.38 points to close at 34,113.23 while the S&P 500 gained 0.27% to finish its trading day at 4,192.66. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged as it declined 0.5% to close at 13,895.12.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.187 following an earlier low of 90.986.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.42 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 108.6 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7734, following levels below $0.772 seen yesterday.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down fractionally to $67.51 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped slightly to $64.44 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this report.

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