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Asia stocks mostly rise, Tianqi Lithium recovers from earlier losses in Hong Kong debut – CNBC

SINGAPORE — Shares in the Asia-Pacific were higher on Wednesday as China released trade data, and the Bank of Korea and Reserve Bank of New Zealand hiked rates.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gave up earlier gains to close 0.22% down at 20,797.95. Airline stocks rose after a report said quarantine-free travel may be allowed by November under some conditions, but also pared gains later in the day.

Cathay Pacific was up 0.59% and China Southern Airlines was 3.15% higher at the close.

Tianqi Lithium plunged more than 11% at its market debut in Hong Kong from its offer price of 82 Hong Kong dollars ($10.45). It recovered from its losses to close at its offer price.

Miniso shares dropped in its debut on the Hong Kong market.

Asia markets

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.54% to close at 26,478.77, and the Topix index gained 0.29% to 1,888.85.

In South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.47% to 2,328.61 and the Kosdaq was 1.65% higher at 763.18.

Taiwan’s benchmark Taiex jumped more than 3% in morning trade after the finance ministry said it would use its stock stabilization fund to intervene in the market, according to Reuters. The index was last up 2.68%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia was mostly flat during the session but gained 0.23% to 6,621.6 at the close.

Mainland China markets initially struggled for direction but closed higher. The Shanghai Composite was slightly higher at 3,284.29 and the Shenzhen Component rose 0.56% to 12,508.89.

Chinese trade data released Wednesday showed a 17.9% increase in dollar-denominated exports in June, higher than the 12% that analysts expected, Reuters reported. Imports rose 1%, less than the 3.9% predicted by analysts in a poll.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.41% higher.

Investors will also be looking ahead to the U.S. inflation report for June.

Sharp weakness in oil prices in July suggests that June may mark a peak [in inflation].

ANZ Research

The Bank of Korea raised rates by 50 basis points for the first time, bringing the rate to 2.25%, Reuters reported. That’s in line with analyst expectations in a Reuters poll. The Korean won stood at 1,305.58 against the greenback.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand also increased rates by 50 basis points to 2.5%. The currency was at $0.6127.

Thailand’s stock exchange is closed for a holiday Wednesday.

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Major indexes in the U.S. see-sawed during the trading day before closing lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 192.51 points or 0.62% to 30,981.33, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.92% to 3,818.80. The Nasdaq Composite slid 0.95% to close at 11,264.73.

The U.S. will report consumer price index data later Wednesday, and markets are expecting hot inflation, which would keep the Fed firmly on its hiking path.

“Sharp weakness in oil prices in July suggests that June may mark a peak,” ANZ Research said in a note Wednesday. That could mean the most dynamic phase of Fed tightening could end after the central bank raises rates on July 27.

“However, our expectation is that underlying strength in core inflation and still deeply negative real policy rates means 50bps rate rises will still be appropriate after the summer,” the note said.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 108.158 after briefly falling below 108.

The Japanese yen changed hands weakened to 137.18 per dollar. The Australian dollar was at $0.6767.

The euro hit parity with the U.S. dollar on Tuesday for the first time in 20 years, with the common currency weakened by Europe’s energy supply concerns and economic troubles, while the safe-haven greenback has been supported by global growth worries.

The euro was last at 1.0034.

Oil futures reversed losses to gain in Asia trade. U.S. crude futures added 1.17% to $96.96 per barrel, and Brent crude was 1.24% higher at $100.72 per barrel.

Both benchmarks settled more than 7% lower in the previous session.

— CNBC’s Samantha Subin, Sarah Min, Sam Meredith, Elliot Smith and Carmen Reinicke contributed to this report.

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