Asian markets mixed, Seoul down after N Korea test
HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets were mixed in holiday-thinned trade Tuesday, with Tokyo boosted by a weaker yen, while Seoul was lower after news that North Korea had successfully tested a nuclear bomb.
With several regional markets still closed for Lunar New Year celebrations, trading was quiet, while dealers look ahead to a meeting of the Group of 20 top economic power at the end of the week.
Tokyo climbed 1.94 per cent, or 215.96 points, to 11,369.12, while Sydney closed flat, nudging down 0.5 points to 4,959.0 after peaking earlier in the day at a 34-month high.
Seoul, which was already flat after the North Korea reports, was off 0.26 per cent, or 5.11 points, at 1,945.79.
Wellington ended flat, dipping 2.38 points to 4,218.12.
Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were closed for public holidays.
Japanese shares were the big gainers as the yen tumbled against the dollar in New York on Monday after US Treasury official Lael Brainard praised Tokyo’s efforts to boost growth and counter deflation.
Analysts say Brainard’s comments indicate Washington will not support any criticism of Japan’s recent monetary easing measures at the G20 meeting on Friday.
Tokyo’s recent moves have stoked fears, especially in Europe, of a currency war between the major economies as policymakers seek to devalue their currencies to make exports more competitive.
In Tokyo trade the yen bounced back slightly from heavy losses on Monday in New York.
The dollar stood at 94.05 yen, from 94.33 yen in New York late Monday, while the euro fetched $1.3390 and 125.61 yen, compared with $1.3404 and 126.42 yen.