Asia-Pacific Shares Trade Mixed

Asia-Pacific shares traded mixed on Wednesday, taking the lead from Wall Street’s struggle for direction as China and Hong Kong markets remain closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 continued its streak, gaining 95.82 points, or 0.4%, Wednesday to 27,395.01.

Australian markets stepped backward as the country’s inflation hit a post-1990 peak.

Inflation in Australia rose to a new 32-year high of 7.8% in the final quarter of the fiscal year of 2022, marking the fastest pace since March 1990.

The annualized figure of a rise in consumer prices was backed by higher prices in food, automotive fuel, and new residential construction, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

New Zealand’s fourth quarter inflation reading rose 1.4% quarter-on-quarter.

New Zealand’s year-on-year inflation rate held steady at 7.2% in December, slightly below a three-decade high.

Singapore’s core inflation rate climbed 5.1% in December on an annualized basis, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The reading remains unchanged from November, and slightly beats Reuters’ expectations of 5%. Smaller price increases for retail and other goods, as well as electricity and gas were offset by higher food and services inflation.

Markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and mainland China were closed for Chinese New Year.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi emerged from a long weekend stronger by 33.31 points, or 1.4%, to 2,428.57.

In Singapore, the Straits Times started a short week up 59.06 points, or 1.8%, to 3,352.77

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 marched ahead 61.59 points, or 0.5%, to 11,994.51

In Australia, the ASX 200 docked 22.1 points, or 0.3%, to 7,468.30.