Asia-Pacific markets mixed; RBA rate decision ahead

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

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.2% in morning trade, with shares of life insurer AIA jumping about 1%.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.39%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.18% higher.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.06% lower.

Looking ahead, the Reserve Bank of Australia is set to announce its interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN.

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.

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.

Markets in China, Japan and Thailand are 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 91.095 following an earlier low of 90.986.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.25 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 108.6 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.774, following levels below $0.772 seen yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.25% to $67.73 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.26% to $64.66 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN

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


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