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Asia Mixed, Hong Kong Leads Losses

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed after minutes of the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting revealed officials’ concerns over sticky inflation, with members seemingly getting cold feet on possible interest rate cuts.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index surged 486.12 points, or 1.3%, to 39,103.22,

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 326.89 points, or 1.7%, to 18,868.71.

South Korea’s central bank held its benchmark policy rate at 3.5% as estimated in a Reuters poll. The BOK is expected to cut by 50 basis points in the fourth quarter, according to a Reuters poll from May 21.

Separately, Singapore’s final first-quarter gross domestic figures remained unchanged from its advance estimate of 2.7%; investors also assessed flash business activity data from Australia and Japan.

Healthcare, recreation and culture were among segments that saw the largest year-on-year increase in prices.

The so-called “MAS core inflation measure,” which strips out prices of private transport and accommodation, also held steady at 3.1% from March.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 sagged 42.66 points, or 1.2%, to 3,641.79.

In Korea, the Kospi index lost 1.65 points, or 0.1%, to 2,721.81.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index returned to trading with a gain of 14.72 points, or 0.4%, to 3,322.62.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index hiked 55.6 points, or 0.3%, to 21,607.43.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 index added 77.21 points, or 0.7%, to 11,809.48.

In Australia, the ASX 200 ditched 36.33 points, or 0.5%, to 7,811.80.