Asian stocks ended broadly higher on Monday after Chinese health officials said COVID fever and emergency hospitalizations have peaked in the country.
Earlier in the day, China’s central bank left its medium-term lending facility rate unchanged and added more funds to maintain sufficient liquidity in the financial system.
Chinese stocks hit a five-month high after reports of a sharp rise in travel ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Chinese data on economic growth, retail sales and industrial output due this week are certain to be disappoint, but markets will probably look past that to how China’s reopening could bolster the economy.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.01 percent to 3,227.59 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended marginally higher at 21,746.72 after hitting a six-month high earlier in the day.
Japanese stocks underperformed other regional markets, as the yen hit a seven-month high against the dollar on speculation that the Bank of Japan might shift away from its ultra-easy monetary policy at its policy meeting on Wednesday.
Investors also reacted to data showing that producer prices in the country hit a record high in 2022.
The Nikkei average fell 1.14 percent to 25,822.32 while the broader Topix index closed 0.88 percent lower at 1,886.31.
Tech stocks and financials led losses, with Tokyo Electron, Screen Holdings, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial tumbling 2-3 percent.
Heavyweight SoftBank Group dropped 1.3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing lost 2 percent.
Seoul stocks rose notably to extend gains for a ninth straight session as U.S. interest-rate worries ease. The Kospi average finished 0.58 percent higher at 2,399.86.
Financials topped the gainers list, with KB Financial, Kakao Bank and Shinhan Financial rallying 5-7 percent. Internet portal provider Naver gained 2.8 percent and platform giant Kakao Corp surged 4 percent.
Australian markets hit a six-week high, with gold miners and technology stock leading the surge. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.82 percent to 7,388.20 while the broader All Ordinaries index settled 0.86 percent higher at 7,605.
Tyro Payments jumped 6.9 percent after raising its earnings guidance for the full-year 2023. Super Retail Group soared 7.7 percent after posting record first-half sales.
Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index edged up 0.48 percent to close at 11,811.24.
U.S. stocks reversed course to end higher on Friday, as upbeat readings on consumer sentiment and inflation expectations helped investors shrug off warnings from major banks of tough times ahead.
Executives from JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Bank of America all said they expect a mild recession to hit the economy this year.
The Dow edged up 0.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent.
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