Asia-Pacific shares in red as South Korea hikes interest rate, Australia’s COVID-19 woes worsen

Highlights 

  • South Korea's central bank became the first developed country to hike interest rates in the pandemic era
  • Most Asian markets closed in the red.
  • The ASX200 fell by 0.39%.

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly subdued as South Korea became the first developed country to hike interest rates in the pandemic era.

In South Korea, benchmark KOPSI corrected 0.75% after the country’s central bank hiked the interest rates on Thursday. The Bank of Korea raised its policy rate by 25 basis points to 0.75% for the first time in nearly three years, becoming the first developed economy to raise interest rates during the pandemic era.

Chinese mainland markets were in deep red as well: Shanghai Composite was down 0.50%, while the Shenzhen Component was down by 1.24%.

In the Chinese Administrative Region of Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index was down 1.50%.

In other markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat, while the Topix traded just below the flatline – down 0.07%.

Aussie market hit by COVID-19 wave

Bogged down by the COVID-19 pandemic, the markets in Australia were in red as well. The ASX200 fell 0.39% after the country breached the 1,000-daily cases mark Wednesday. The country reported 1,098 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Of this, New South Wales, the state worst hit by the pandemic, recorded an alarming 1,034 cases.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley Capital International’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.81%.

At Wall Street, stocks climbed again overnight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.24 points, or 0.1%, to close at 35,405.50. The S&P500 added 0.2% to a new closing high of 4,496.19. The NASDAQ Composite gained 0.1% to close at 15,041.86, also a new closing high.

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