Asia Stocks Recover

Asia-Pacific stocks were largely higher in Thursday trade, as investors in the region watched for market reaction to the Bank of Japan’s latest monetary policy decision.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 regained 461.27 points, or 1.8%, to 26,847.90.

The Bank of Japan on Thursday announced its decision to hold steady on its monetary policy, a largely expected move. The Japanese central bank also said in its monetary policy statement that it “expects short- and long-term policy interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels.”

Following the announcement, the Japanese yen weakened more than 1% to 130.25 per U.S. dollar, as compared with an earlier high of 128.32 against the greenback. The Japanese currency has for weeks weakened against the dollar, with expectations the Bank of Japan is set to be relatively slower in normalizing monetary policy as compared with peers such as the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Japan’s retail sales rose more than expected in March, according to government data released Thursday. Retail sales gained 0.9% in March as compared with a year earlier, above median market a forecast for a 0.4% rise.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong vaulted 329.81 points, or 1.7%, to 20,276.17.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7142, off levels above $0.72 seen earlier in the week.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 progressed 25.57 points, or 0.7%, to 3,921.11.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for an “all-out” effort to construct infrastructure. His comments come as mainland China has since March been facing its worst outbreak of Covid-19 since the initial shock of the pandemic in early 2020.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index moved forward 14.42 points, or 0.4%, to 3,335.09

In Korea, the Kospi index recovered 28.43 points, or 1.1%, to 2,667.49.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index restocked 116.03 points, or 0.7%, to 16,419.38.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 jumped 149.57 points, or 1.3%, to 11,875.96.

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained back 95.72 points, or 1.3%, to 7,356.89.