Asia Rises as RBNZ Stands Pat on Rates

Shares in Asia were higher on Wednesday, with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand keeping interest rates unchanged despite expectations of a hike.

The Nikkei 225 recovered 161.44 points, or 0.6%, to 27,585.91.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.57 per U.S. dollar, weaker than levels below 109.5 seen against the greenback yesterday.

Japan’s government on Tuesday decided to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas to Sept. 12, local news agency Kyodo News reported.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index revived 121.14 points, or 0.5%, to 25,867.01.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced Wednesday that it would keep its monetary settings unchanged, leaving the official cash rate at 0.25%. Analysts had expected that New Zealand could be the first advanced economy in Asia-Pacific to raise interest rates in the pandemic era of easy monetary policy.

In a release, the New Zealand central bank said the decision was "made in the context" of the government’s imposition of a nationwide lockdown. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the lockdown on Wednesday following the discovery of a COVID case in Auckland.

Following that decision, the New Zealand dollar traded at $0.692, following a drop from above $0.696 yesterday.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7261 as it struggles to recover after falling from above $0.732 earlier in the week.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 jumped 56./84 points, or 1.2%, to 4,894.24.

In Korea, the Kospi index pointed upward 15.84 points, or 0.5%, to 3,158.93

In Singapore, the Straits Times gathered 12.93 points, or 0.4%, to 3,131.44

In Taiwan, the Taiex index regained 164.91 points, or 1%, to 16,826.27

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 hiked 83.56 points, or 0.7%, to 12,718.88.

In Australia, the ASX 200 faded 8.88 points, or 0.1%, at 7,502.15