Asia Mostly Lower Over Renewed COVID Concerns

Shares in Asia-Pacific fell on Friday as COVID worries resurfaced in the region.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 177.61 points, or 0.6%, to end the week at 27,940.42.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.07 per U.S. dollar, stronger than levels around 110.6 seen against the greenback yesterday.

Olympics organizers will ban spectators from the upcoming summer games in Tokyo, after a state of emergency in the city was declared by Japan on Thursday as the country sees rising COVID-19 cases. The state of emergency will last till August 22.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng regained 191.41 points, or 0.7%, to 27,344.54.

Korean stocks were negative. South Korea announced Friday that the greater Seoul area will be placed under the toughest social distancing rules of Level 4, according to local news agency Yonhap.

In Australia, the city of Sydney earlier this week announced that COVID-19 restrictions would be extended by another week.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7429, still below levels above $0.755 seen earlier in the week.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 subtracted 18.82 points, or 0.4%, to 5,069.44.

Reuters reported Friday that the Biden administration is set to add more Chinese firms to its economic blacklist over alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang.

China’s consumer price index for June rose 1.1% as compared with a year ago, data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday. That was lower than expectations for a 1.3% year-on-year increase by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, Chinese producer inflation data came in in line with expectations. The producer price index for June rose 8.8% as compared with a year ago, meeting forecasts by analysts in a Reuters poll for a 8.8% rise. The June PPI reading was a slight decrease in pace from the 9% increase in May.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index recovered 23.81 points, or 0.8% to 3,131.40

The Kospi index in Korea dropped 204.61 points, or 1.2%, to 3,217.95.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index slumbered 204.61 points, or 1.2%, to 17,661.48

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 fell 62.16 points, or 0.5%, to 12,690.35

In Australia, the ASX 200 shed 68.13 points, or 0.9%, to 7,273.29.