Asia Shares Fall, Yen Sinks; Oil Stays Higher Than $120
On Thursday, Asian stocks were mostly lower as investors waited for new signs of inflation, while crude oil prices remained above $120 per barrel, adding to price pressures, Yuri Kageyama and Damian J. Troise reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 0.4 percent to 21,926.78, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 percent to 3,257.20.
Benchmarks fell across the region, with the exception of Tokyo, where a weakening yen sent some Japanese exporter issues higher. In morning trading, Nintendo rose 1.4 percent, while Toyota Motor Corp. rose 0.7 percent.
The Japanese yen continued its decline to new 20-year lows against the US dollar, a trend that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other analysts expect to continue for some time due to higher interest rates in the US and Europe versus Japan, where long-term interest rates remain near zero.
The Nikkei 225, Japan's benchmark index, rose 0.1 percent to 28,278.45. The S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia fell 1.1 percent to 7,045.00. The Kospi in South Korea fell 0.6 percent to 2,610.66.
The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 0.4 percent to 21,926.78, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 percent to 3,257.20.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has increased pressure on energy and food prices, the impact of inflation has worsened. Crude oil prices in the United States rose 2.3 percent on Wednesday and are up 63 percent year to date, while wheat prices are up 39 percent in 2022.
Following a series of lockdowns in Chinese cities dealing with COVID-19 cases, supply chains have also tightened.
The price of benchmark US crude was up 35 cents to $122.46 per barrel early Thursday. On Wednesday, it gained $2.70. Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil pricing, rose 51 cents to $124.09 per barrel. Early Thursday, the dollar was trading at 134.22 Japanese yen, up from 134.20 late Wednesday.
The euro now costs $1.0714, up from $1.0718.