Asian Shares Decline On Inflation Fears; Dollar Gains

Asian stocks slipped into the red on Monday, the dollar hovered near one-month high, and yields edged up as investors awaited the release of U.S. consumer price data on Tuesday that could provide clarity on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy trajectory.

Increased diplomatic tensions between the United States and China over issues from Taiwan to trade and technology also weighed on sentiment.

A U.S fighter jet shot down an “unidentified object” over Lake Huron on Sunday on orders from President Joe Biden. It is the fourth object shot out of the sky by U.S. fighter jets in eight days.

Chinese shares bucked the regional trend to end notably higher after data showed new bank loans jumped more than expected to a record in January.

The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.7 percent to 3,284.16, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.1 percent to 21,164.42.

Japanese shares fell and the yen sank against the dollar amid speculation that former BoJ policy board member and academic Kazuo Ueda would be picked to become the Bank of Japan’s next governor.

The government is set to officially announce the nomination of the new governor on Tuesday. Ueda spoke to reporters and said the central bank’s stimulus should stay in place.

The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.9 percent to close at 27,427.32, while the broader Topix ended 0.5 percent lower at 1,977.67.

Tech shares led losses, with Advantest, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron falling 2-4 percent. Cosmetic maker Shiseido lost 4 percent and medical equipment maker Olympus gave up 2.3 percent on disappointing earnings results.

Seoul shares fell for a third day running on worries that a strong U.S. inflation reading would cause the Fed to reinforce interest-rate hike moves. The Kospi fell 0.7 percent to 2,452.70, with tech and chemical stocks leading losses.

Australian markets ended slightly lower, dragged down by financials and miners. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 0.2 percent to 7,417.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.2 percent lower at 7,614.50.

Casino operator Star Entertainment plunged 20.8 percent after warning of an up to A$1.6 billion ($1.11 billion) impairment charge. Energy stocks outperformed, with Woodside Energy Group and Santos rallying around 2 percent.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index slumped 0.9 percent to 12,075.18.

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday, as higher long-dated bond yields on data showing improved consumer sentiment and a rebound in near-term inflation expectations weighed on technology stocks.

The Dow rose half a percent and the S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.6 percent.

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