SINGAPORE – Asia-Pacific equities were mixed in early trading on Thursday as US markets soared to record highs. Meanwhile, South Korea’s central bank raised interest rates.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.36%, while the Topix rose 0.14%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.31%.
South Korea’s central bank raised interest rates, a decision analysts expected. That made it the first developed economy to do so in the pandemic era.
The Bank of Korea raised its interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.75%.
“Korea’s virus situation has worsened since the central bank’s July meeting, when it gave strong signals that tightening was imminent,” Capital Economics wrote in a note ahead of the announcement.
“However, the economy has become increasingly resilient to outbreaks as businesses have learned to live with the virus,” it said, adding that rising household debt and rising house prices are contributing to financial stability problems.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.13% after the interest rate announcement.
US stocks rose again last night. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.24 points, or 0.1%, to 35,405.50. The S&P 500 added 0.2% to a new closing price of 4,496.19. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.1% to 15,041.86, also a new closing price.
Currencies and Oil
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, fell to 92.819 earlier this week, down from 93.
The Japanese yen traded at 110.01 and has weakened from the 109 level in recent days. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7277, slightly stronger than the levels above $0.725 earlier this week.
Oil prices fell in the morning of Asia hours. The international benchmark for Brent crude futures fell 0.58% to $71.83 a barrel. US crude oil futures 0.69% to $67.89.