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On Monday, the benchmark index ASX 200 added 13.60 points and traded at 7,077.10, marginally up by 0.19% on Friday's closure. Utilities remained the best performing sector followed by Materials. The energy sector was the worst performer of the day, followed by Telecommunications Services.
Despite ASX 200 trading in green, most of the sectors traded lower today.
Materials' shares that topped the charts included - Sims Limited (ASX:SGM), soared by 10.46%, Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) and Champion Iron Limited (ASX:CIA), which also gained more than 3.50%.
How are the Asian Counterparts doing today?
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On Monday, Japanese stocks were up due to the expectation of semiconductor production increase. However, gains were capped due to increasing worries of COVID-19 infection. Topix increased by 0.04%, while Nikkei 225 Index went up by 0.16%.
There is a global semiconductor shortage thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the automobile recovery pace. Last week, the US and Japan agreed to cooperate in funding the semiconductor supply chains to address the issue. However, the slow speed of Japan's vaccination and the fact that Tokyo is considering yet another state of emergency due to an increase in the cases, is dampening the hopes of investors.
In March 2021, Japan's reported its highest export growth in over three years, led by an increase in China-bound shipments. Today, the Ministry of Finance announced that the exports surged 16.1% in March as compared to the previous year. However, the data is not enough to entirely erase the economic recovery worries of the world's third-biggest economy.
Amid the ongoing vaccine roll-out, Asian shares reached near their 1-1/2 week highs. The sentiments were also high on the back of expectations of global monetary policy to remain favourable.
Asia-Pacific's MSCI's broadest index outside Japan was at a level not seen since 7 April. On the back of its third straight annual gain, the index surged by 1.2% in the previous week and is up 5% so far in the current year. South Korea's KOSPI and New Zealand's benchmark index added 0.4% each.
US dollar reached near a four-week low against other currencies. Oil prices were in red, with US crude down by 29 cents to USD 62.84 and Brent down by 34 cents to USD 66.43.
Gold prices were high, and it was hovering near a seven-week high hit in the earlier session.
Moving on, thanks to Taiwan's strong economic prospects, its central bank governor said the country might again revise the current year's growth forecast. It had last month also raised 2021 estimate for the GDP growth to 4.53% from the 3.68% forecast in December.
Amid skyrocketing COVID-19 infections, Canada is awaiting its budget today, with billions of dollars expected for the pandemic recovery.