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Asia Mostly Lower After Inflation Data

Asia-Pacific markets traded mostly lower on Wednesday as investors assessed Australia’s inflation numbers for April and consumer confidence data from Japan.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index lost 298.5 points, or 0.8%, to 38,566.87.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 344.15 points, or 1.8%, to 18,477.01.

Korean markets weakened, dragged by a 3.09% loss in heavyweight Samsung Electronics as one of its unions announced a strike.

Australia’s weighted consumer price index rose 3.6% year-on-year in April, greater than the 3.4% gain forecast in a Reuters poll. The reading was also higher than the 3.5% reported for March.

In a preview note last week, analysts from ING said: “One more bad inflation report from Australia, and we will consider removing the final cut we have penciled in by the [Reserve Bank of Australia] in the fourth quarter of this year. Two more, and we may consider adding a rate hike.”

The Australian index fell 1.3% after the CPI announcement.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 inched up 4.35 points, or 0.1%, to 3,613.52.

In Korea, the Kospi index fell 45.55 points, or 1.7%, to 2,677.30.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index slid 6.89 points, or 0.2%, to 3,323.20.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index subtracted 195.91 points, or 0.4%, to 21,662.50.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 index shed 3.84 points to 11,678.68.

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 101.08 points, or 1.3%, to 7,665.63.

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