Asia on Downside as Much of Region on Holiday

Shares in Asia-Pacific slipped on Monday, with data released over the weekend showing Chinese factory activity contracted in April.

Japanese markets returned from a long weekend to fall short of breakeven by 29.37 points, or 0.1%, to 26,818.53, as shares of robot maker Fanuc dropped 2.3%.

The Japanese yen traded at 130.31 per dollar, still weaker as compared with levels below 128 seen against the greenback last week.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7055 after dropping from above $0.714 in the previous week.

Markets in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taiwan were shuttered for holiday.

CHINA

China’s factory activity contracted at a steeper pace in April as COVID lockdowns hit industrial production, according to data released over the weekend.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for April declined to 47.4, a second straight month of contraction following with March’s reading of 49.5, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Saturday.

The 50-point mark in PMI readings separates growth from contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

A private survey also showed contraction in Chinese factory activity, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI coming in at 46, declining from the previous month’s reading of 48.1.

The data come as mainland China has been grappling for weeks with its worst COVID outbreak since 2020.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index ditched 7.6 points, or 0.3%, to 2,687.45

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 fell 99.94 points, or 0.8%, to 11,784.36.

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 88.02 points, or 1.2%, to 7,346.99.