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Japan stocks fall 2% as Asia-Pacific shares slide; China’s consumer inflation data misses expectations

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in Friday morning trade as investors reacted to the release of Chinese inflation data.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 led losses among the region’s major markets as it fell 2.01% in morning trade while the Topix index shed 1.85%.

Olympics organizers will ban spectators from the upcoming summer games in Tokyo, after a state of emergency was declared by Japan as the country sees rising Covid-19 cases.

Mainland Chinese stocks also slipped in early trade, with the Shanghai composite shedding 0.49% and the Shenzhen component declining 0.991%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index sat below the flatline.

China’s consumer price index for June rose 1.1% as compared with a year ago, data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday. That was lower than expectations for a 1.3% year-on-year increase by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, Chinese producer inflation data came in in line with expectations. The producer price index for June rose 8.8% as compared with a year ago, meeting forecasts by analysts in a Reuters poll for a 8.8% rise. The June PPI reading was a slight decrease in pace from the 9% increase in May.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.66%. South Korea announced Friday that the greater Seoul area will be placed under the toughest social distancing rules of Level 4, according to local news agency Yonhap.

Australian stocks also declined as the S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.41%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.87% lower.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 259.86 points to 34,421.93 while the S&P 500 declined 0.86% to 4,320.82. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.72% to 14,559.78.

The losses came on the back of U.S. Labor Department’s latest jobless claims data which was unexpectedly higher, hinting at a potential slowdown in the labor market.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.401 following a recent decline from above 92.7.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.78 per dollar, stronger than levels around 110.6 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7409, still below levels above $0.755 seen earlier in the week.

Oil prices were mixed in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.15% to $74.01 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were flat at $72.94 per barrel.

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