Asia Stocks React to Saudi Attacks

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Monday, as oil prices surged following drone attacks over the weekend that hit major oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Markets in Japan were shuttered for holiday.

The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency in times of market turmoil, strengthened to 107.85 against the U.S. dollar after seeing lows above 108.0 late last week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index tumbled 228.14 points, or 0.8%, to 27,124.55.

Shares of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing slipped 2.16% following the rejection of its takeover bid by the London Stock Exchange Group last Friday.

Korean markets were in the green despite shares of chipmaker SK Hynix plunging 3.8%.

Shares of oil companies in Asia Pacific surged on Monday. Australia’s Woodside Petroleum jumped 4.3% and Santos gained 4.9%. Over in South Korea, S-Oil saw its stock gain 2.31%. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese oil titan Petrochina also soared 5% while CNOOC skyrocketed 7.2%, as of their final hour of trading.

Over the weekend, drone attacks hit the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Half the country’s oil production was halted due to fire damage and an assessment of the situation is due on Monday, according to the Saudi ministry of energy.

Australia closed fractionally higher as the majority of the sectors declined with the exception of the energy sub-index, which soared 4% on the back of a surge in oil prices.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6873 after rising from levels below $0.684 in the previous trading week.

CHINA

In China, the CSI 300 returned to trading with a loss of 14.66 points, or 0.4%, to 3,957.72

China’s industrial production growth saw its slowest pace in 17 and a half years in August, rising just 4.4% year-on-year.

That came in below a forecast of a 5.2% year-on-year increase by analysts. Industrial output growth in the country saw an expected drop to a more than 17-year low in July.

A cut in the reserve requirement ratio for banks by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) went into effect on Monday. The PBOC said in early September that its reserve requirement ratio would be cut by 50 basis points and it would further reduce that ratio by 100 basis points for some qualified banks. That’s set to release 800 billion yuan ($113 billion U.S.) in liquidity into the economy.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index returned from a long weekend to gain13.02 points, or 0.6%, to 2,062.22

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index came back from several days off to pick up 70.58 points, or 0.7%, to 10,896.13

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index erased 7.56 points, or 0.2%, to 3,203.93

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 dropped 31.67 points, or 0.3%, to 10,831.75

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 4.30 points, or 0.1%, to 6,673.48