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U.S. Inflation Weighs on Asia

Most Asia-Pacific markets fell on Wednesday, with the exception of Hong Kong, after hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation data sent Wall Street tumbling overnight.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 retreated from multi-decade highs, losing 260.65 points, or 0.7%, to 37,703.32.

The Nikkei had rallied about 3% to breach the 38,000 mark briefly on Tuesday. It last touched that level in 1990.

Japan’s top currency diplomat Masato Kanda said that “recent movements in the foreign exchange market have been rapid” with regard to the yen, and authorities are watching these “with a high sense of urgency.”

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 132.80 points, or 0.8%, to 15,887.38, returning to trading after a Lunar New Year long weekend.

Korea markets fell, with heavyweight Samsung Electronics losing 1.6%.

Australian markets were again down, marking a fourth straight day of losses.

In other markets,

Markets in Taiwan and Shanghai remained shuttered for the Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Straits Times Index docked 2.8 points, or 0.1%, to 3,139.07.

In Korea, the Kospi fell 29.22 points, or 1.1%, to 2,620.42.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 dipped 78.36 points, or 0.7%, to 11,661.32.

In Australia, the ASX 200 retreated 55.85 points, or 0.7%, to 7,547,74.