Asia shares mixed while oil falls on China COVID outlook

Asian markets

Asian markets

Asian share markets were mixed on Tuesday and oil was weaker as investors sought to digest the economic implications of China’s COVID policy adjustments and a rescue package for the country’s struggling property sector.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.1%, following mild losses for U.S. overnight.

Australian shares lost 0.28%, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index was off 0.16%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was flat while China’s CSI300 Index was down 0.3%.

Some Chinese cities have begun cutting routine community testing, days after China announced an easing of some of its heavy-handed coronavirus measures. At the same time, however, COVID case numbers in the country have grown.

Chinese property stocks were giving up the some of the steep gains made a day earlier on the rescue package.

Jack Siu, China chief investment officer at Credit Suisse, said that “while the COVID changes and housing package will alleviate some of the downside risks it won’t be enough to meaningfully boost Chinese economic growth yet.”

Chinese data out on Tuesday was also not encouraging.

Industrial output rose 5.0% in October from a year earlier, slowing from the 6.3% pace seen in September while retail sales fell 0.5%, the first drop since May when Shanghai was under a city-wide lockdown. Analysts had expected retail sales to rise 1.0%.

Oil dropped on fears China could impose further lockdowns in some cities. U.S. crude fell 0.43% to $ 85.43 a barrel while Brent crude slipped 0.2% to $ 92.81.

China reported 17,909 new COVID-19 infections on Nov. 14 compared with 16,203 a day earlier.

“Surging case numbers continue to be a key downside risk. Another round of lockdowns cannot be ruled out if cases keep rising,” ANZ economists said on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met U.S. President Joe Biden at the G20 meeting in Bali on Monday night but the talks failed to prompt major financial market reactions.

In Asian hours, Bitcoin rose 1.1% to $ 16,593. U.S regulators opened probes into the collapse of crypto exchange FTX while other major crypto exchanges have rushed to assure investors of their stability in the FTX fallout. Bitcoin remains down 64.2% so far in 2022.

Inflation in the United States remains at the top of the mind for many global investors who are waiting for producer price index data later on Tuesday.

The dollar rose 0.34% against the yen to 140.15 . It is still some distance from its high this year of 151.94 on Oct. 21.

The European single currency was down 0.1% at $ 1.0317, having gained 4.4% in a month, while the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies of other major trading partners, was largely flat at 106.99.

Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose to 3.8686% compared with the U.S. close of 3.867% on Monday.

The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 4.4014% compared with a U.S. close of 4.408%.

Gold was slightly lower, with spot gold trading at $ 1,768.22 per ounce.