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Asia stock mixed after worst quarter since COVID bear market

Shanghai Composite

China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.34%, Shenzhen Component was up 0.41%, Hang Seng Index dropped 0.76%, Nikkei 225 shed 0.43%, KOSPI declined 0.55% and ASX 200 inched up 0.16%

Asia Pacific stocks mixed on Friday morning, attempting to turn a new leaf after their worst quarter since the COVID-19 bear market. Investors continue to weigh the risks from tighter U.S. Federal Reserve monetary policy and the war in Ukraine.

China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.34% by 2:43 AM GMT while the Shenzhen Component was up 0.41%. The Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for March was 48.1, with National Bureau of Statistics data from the day before showing that the manufacturing PMI was 49.5 and the non-manufacturing PMI was 48.4.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.76%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.43%, with data showing the Tankan Large Manufacturers Index at 14, and the Tankan Large Non-Manufacturers Index at 9, for the first quarter of 2022.

South Korea’s KOSPI declined 0.55%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 inched up 0.16%, with March’s Australian Industry Group manufacturing index at 55.7 and the manufacturing PMI at 57.7.

China’s worst COVID-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic prompted the city of Shanghai to extend a lockdown and a retreat in U.S.-listed Chinese stocks is also dampening sentiment.

The U.S. plan to release around a million barrels a day from the strategic petroleum reserve is also keeping oil prices down. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 has disrupted commodity supplies, ramping up prices for fuel and food. Russia will aim to keep supplying gas to European customers even as it demands they shift to payment in Russian ruble.

Ukraine and Russia will resume peace talks on Friday. The Russian government is also staying on top of its debt obligations so far, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. processing a nearly $447 million payment for dollar debt due at 2030 on Thursday. The next payment deadline is April 4.

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