China’s factory activity hits new lows

On Wednesday, Asia-Pacific shares were mainly up while the reading for China’s November manufacturing activity came in below forecasts and dropped to its lowest level since April 2022.

In the last hour of trading, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong temporarily increased by 2%, with the Hang Seng Tech index trading 2.66% higher. The Shanghai Composite ended the day in mainland China unchanged at 3,151.34, while the Shenzhen Component increased by 0.176% to 11,108.50.

When asked if the ongoing unrest would cause a change in the country’s zero-Covid policy, Chinese health officials said it is “closely watching the virus” for developments and that the country is taking steps to increase elderly vaccination rates, an indicator that is thought to be crucial for reopening the economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia recovered some of its earlier losses and closed at 7,284.20, trading 0.43% higher after its monthly inflation indicator indicated slight easing in October. The Topix fell 0.37% to 1,985.57 and the Nikkei 225 fell 0.21% to 27,968.99.

The Kospi in South Korea turned around losses to increase 1.61% to 2,472.53. The largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan increased by 1.18%. Fast Retailing and Xpeng, a manufacturer of electric vehicles in Japan, are scheduled to release their quarterly financial results, while Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give a speech at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday.

Major indices closed the session down in the U.S. overnight.

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