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Asia-Pacific markets mixed as inflation in Japan inches up

SINGAPORE — Shares in the Asia-Pacific were mixed Friday as investors digest Japan’s inflation data.

The Nikkei 225 recovered from earlier losses to rise 0.45% and the Topix index climbed 0.28%.

Official data released Friday showed that prices in Japan rose 2.2% in June compared to a year ago, in line with analysts’ expectations.

“June CPI data shows that cost-push inflation has stabilized, primarily due to a sharp decline in fresh food prices,” according to ING’s regional head of research, Robert Carnell, and senior economist Min Joo Kang in a Friday note.

“However, inflation is likely to accelerate again in the coming months due to the low base comparisons with last year and could exceed 2.5%YoY, while the core inflation rate will likely remain above 2% for the remainder of the year,” the note said, adding that the Bank of Japan is likely to stay accommodative since inflation is not demand driven.

Japan’s central bank on Thursday kept rates on hold at ultra-low levels, as expected.

Asia-Pacific markets mixed

South Korea’s Kospi was 0.25% lower, but the Kosdaq rose 0.13%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.2% higher.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.12%, but mainland China markets gave up earlier gains to fall. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.33% and the Shenzhen Component lost 0.68%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sat just above the flatline.

Overnight in the U.S., the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 1.36% to close at 12,059.61 as Tesla shares surged. The S&P 500 gained nearly 1% to end the session at 3,998.95, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 162.06 points, or 0.51%, to 32,036.90.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 106.908 after falling from last week’s levels.

The Japanese yen traded at 137.61 per dollar, strengthening from recent levels above 138 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.6911, rising from below $0.6880.

U.S. crude futures climbed 0.88% to $97.20 per barrel in Asia trade, while Brent crude was up 0.93% at $104.83 per barrel.

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