Asia Rebounds on Variant Concerns

Major markets across Asia-Pacific bounced back on Wednesday, following losses the day before that were triggered by renewed uncertainty on the omicron COVID variant.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 regained 113.86 points, or 0.4%, to 27,935.62, a slight recovery following multiple sessions of losses.

The Japanese yen traded at 113.38 per U.S. dollar after a recent weakening from below 113 against the greenback

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng recovered 183.66 points, or 0.8%, to 23,658.92.

Australia’s economy shrank 1.9% in the September quarter, official data showed Wednesday. That was above market forecasts for a 2.7% decline.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7151, above an earlier low of $0.7117.

CHINA

In China, the CSI 300 restocked 11.82 points, or 0.2%, to 4,843.85.

A private survey released Wednesday showed Chinese factory activity shrinking in November, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index coming in at 49.9 for that month. That was a decline from October’s reading of 50.6.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for November came in at 50.1 on Tuesday, above expectations by analysts for a reading of 49.6.

PMI readings below 50 represent contraction while those above that level signify expansion. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex zoomed 158.23 points, or 0.9%, to 17,585.99

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gained 56.96 points, or 1.9%, to 3,098.25

In Korea, the Kospi index jumped 60.71 points, or 2.1%, to 2,899.72

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 edged up 5.39 points to 12,724.29

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 20.12 points, or 0.3%, at 7,235.85