Asia Pacific stocks mixed as China’s manufacturing activity in August beats forecasts

Stocks in Asia Pacific traded mixed Tuesday morning as a private survey showed Chinese manufacturing activity in August expanding at its fastest pace in nearly 10 years.

Mainland Chinese stocks slipped, with the Shanghai composite down 0.16% while the Shenzhen component shed 0.448%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.13%.

The moves came as the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for August came in at 53.1. On Monday, China’s official manufacturing PMI for August came in at 51.0, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Economic data releases from China have been watched by investors for signs of the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion, while those below that figure indicate contraction. PMI readings are sequential and indicate on-month expansion or contraction.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia led losses among the region’s major markets as it fell 1.63%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.16% while the Topix index shed 0.12%. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.91%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.25% higher.

Looking ahead, the Reserve Bank of Australia is set to announce its interest rate decision at about 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN on Tuesday. Ahead of that decision, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7398 following a rise yesterday from levels around $0.735.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average wrapped up their best August performances in decades. The Dow fell 223.82 points, or 0.8%, to end its trading day on Wall Street at 28,430.05 and the S&P 500 shed 0.2% to close at 3,500.31. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7% and finished its trading day at 11,775.46.

The Monday moves left the Dow up 7.6% for August, its biggest gain for that month since 1984. The S&P 500 rose 7% for the same month, notching its best August performance since 1986.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.034 following an earlier slip from around the 92.4 mark.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.70 per dollar after seeing levels around 105.5 against the greenback yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.71% to $45.60 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.68% to $42.90 per barrel.

What’s on tap:

  • Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN