Shares in Asia-Pacific mixed; Australia records higher-than-expected trade surplus in July

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday trade as Australia reported a higher-than-expected trade surplus in July.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia shed 1.07%. Australia recorded a trade surplus of 12.117 billion Australian dollars (about $8.93 billion) in July, according to data released Thursday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That was much higher than the 10.2 billion Australian dollars surplus projected in a Reuters poll.

Elsewhere, mainland Chinese stocks were higher, with the Shanghai composite up about 0.3% while the Shenzhen component traded fractionally higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.03%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 hovered above the flatline while the Topix index shed 0.22%. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.62%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.25% higher.

In Covid vaccine developments, Moderna and Takeda Pharmaceutical announced Wednesday they are working with Japanese authorities to recall several batches after stainless steel contaminants were discovered in some vials. Takeda Pharmaceutical shares in Japan fell more than 1% in Thursday morning trade.

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Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 closed marginally higher at 4,523.09 while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.33% to 15,309.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged as it declined 48.2 points to 35,312.53.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.477 — off levels above 92.7 seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.95 per dollar, stronger than levels around 110.4 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7361, having climbed from below $0.73 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.71% to $71.08 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped 0.82% to $68.03 per barrel.


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