Asia Struggles for Direction

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday, while oil prices dipped on the back of a report that Saudi Arabia could step in if Russian crude production falls under EU sanctions.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 descended 44.01 points, or 0.2%, to 27,413.88.

The Japanese yen traded at 129.85 per U.S. dollar, weaker as compared with levels below 128 seen against the greenback earlier this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index declined 212.81 points, or 1%, to 21,082.12.

Australia’s trade surplus widened to 10.495 billion Australian dollars ($7.525 billion U.S.) in April, data from the country’s Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday. That was higher than the surplus of 9.3 billion Australian dollars predicted in a Reuters poll.

Following the data release, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.717, still off levels above $0.72 seen recently.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 inched up 6.39 points, or 0.2%, to 4,089.57.

The major Chinese city of Shanghai reopened on Wednesday following weeks of stringent Covid-related lockdowns.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex ditched 122.52 points, or 0.7%, to 16,552.57.

Korean markets returned after a holiday, the Kospi Index faltering 26.91 points, or 1%, to 2,658.99

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 17.28 points, or 0.5%, to 3,226.72

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 fell 23.7 points, or 0.2%, to 11,349.54.

In Australia, the ASX 200 faded 58.04 points, or 0.8%, to 7,175.94.