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Japan's Nikkei Falls More Than 2% as Asia Stocks Slip; China's April Trade Data Come in Above Expectations

Charly Triballeau | Afp | Getty Images
  • Shares in Asia-Pacific largely declined on Monday.
  • Chinese exports and imports data for April released Monday came in above expectations.
  • Markets in Hong Kong were closed on Monday for a holiday.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific largely fell on Monday as investors watched for market reaction to Chinese trade data that came in better-than-expected.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 2.53% to close at 26,319.34, leading losses among the region's major markets as shares of Fast Retailing dropped 6.26%. The Topix index shed 1.96% to 1,878.39.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed, with the Shanghai Composite rising fractionally to 3,004.14 while the Shenzhen Component slipped 0.409% to about 10,765.63.

China's dollar-denominated exports grew 3.9% year-on-year in April, customs data showed Monday. They were above expectations for a 3.2% rise by analysts in a Reuters poll.

China's dollar-denominated imports were unchanged in April compared to a year ago, better than an expected 3% drop, according to Reuters.

The data came as mainland China continued to battle its worst Covid outbreak since early 2020. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday emphasized that the country should stick to its "dynamic zero-Covid" policy.

"It is unclear how quickly China will pivot towards living with COVID," Tapas Strickland, an economist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a Monday note. "As for data, it is expected to take a backseat given lockdowns/enhanced restrictions in many parts of the country."

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi slipped 1.27% to close at 2,610.81 while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia declined 1.18% on the day to 7,120.70.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3%.

"We've cautioned about getting too bearish," Steve Brice, chief investment officer at Standard Chartered Wealth Management, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Monday.

"If you look at indicators … from a market perspective, that bearishness is coming through as well, and that's usually a buying opportunity," said Brice. "I know there's a lot of challenges out there … in terms of the inflation outlook, but you know, the markets are already pricing in very, very sharp monetary policy tightening. At some point we will find a bottom."

Markets in Hong Kong were closed on Monday for a holiday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 103.991 following a recent jump from levels below 103.2.

The Japanese yen traded at 131.09 per dollar, weaker as compared with levels below 129 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7007 after last week's drop from above $0.721.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures declining 0.3% to $112.05 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped 0.46% to $109.27 per barrel.

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