Private survey on Chinese services sector activity in May released

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Monday trade, as a private survey showed another contraction in China’s service sector activity for May.

Chinese stocks led gains among the region’s major markets, with the Shanghai Composite up 1.05% while the Shenzhen Component surged 2,521%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.09%.

China’s Caixin Services Purchasing Managers’ Index released Monday came in at 41.4, better than April’s reading of 36.2 but still in contraction territory.

The release comes on the back of last week’s official non-manufacturing PMI print of 47.8 for May, an improvement over April’s reading of 41.9 but still below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

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In Japan, the Nikkei 225 climbed 0.7% as shares of Fast Retailing jumped 2.87%. The Topix index traded 0.35% higher.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.33%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose fractionally.

JPMorgan Asset Management’s Tai Hui said the firm is currently watching signs of US momentum “clearly starting to decelerate” as well as the impact of tighter monetary conditions.

“I think that’s where we’re monitoring very closely but we’re not quite there yet when it comes to [being] bearish on … Asia markets,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.

Markets in South Korea are closed on Monday for a holiday.

In other geopolitical developments, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNN that President Joe Biden’s administration is “looking at” potentially lifting some tariffs on China to fight inflation.

“The president has asked us on his team to analyze that, and so we’re in the process of doing that for him and he will have to make that decision,” Raimondo said, adding that it “may make sense” to consider easing levies on certain products such as household goods and bicycles.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 101 following a recent climb from levels below 102.

The Japanese yen traded at 130.6 per dollar, weaker as compared with levels below 128 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar was at $0,719 after declining from above $0,725 late last week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.64% to $120.49 per barrel. US crude futures climbed 0.66% to $119.65 per barrel.

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