COVID Fears Translate to Mixed Asia Markets

Asia-Pacific markets broadly struggled for gains on Monday as investors kept an eye on the COVID-19 situation across the region while oil prices tumbled 3%.

Markets in Japan and Singapore were closed for holidays.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng regained 104 points, or 0.4%, to 26,283.40.

Australia reported 280 new COVID cases over a 24-hour period on Sunday, with most of them in the populous state of New South Wales. Reports said that about 15 million people, or 60% of the country’s population, are under a strict lockdown.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7354 against the greenback, climbing from an earlier level around $0.7326. The Aussie fell from levels above $0.7400 following a resurgent dollar Friday on the back of strong nonfarm payrolls data.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gained 64 points, or 1.3%, to 4,985.56

China’s export growth unexpectedly slowed in July while imports also lost momentum. Exports rose 19.3% from a year ago, compared with a 32.2% gain in June and versus a market forecast of a 20.8% gain, Reuters reported. Imports rose 28.1% from a year earlier, less than a market forecast of a 33% increase.

China reported data on Monday that showed consumer inflation slowed slightly, Reuters reported. The consumer price index in July rose 1% from a year ago, versus a 1.1% gain in the prior month and below the government target of around 3% this year, the news wire said.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gained 64 points, or 1.3%, to 4,985.56

The Kospi index in Korea let to of 9.94 points, or 0.3%, to 3,260.42.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index subtracted 41.13 points, or 0.2%, to 17,485.15

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 sank 69.17 points, or 0.1%, to 12,770.

In Australia, the ASX 200 was unchanged at 7,538.41.