Hong Kong: Asian shares closed mostly up on Monday after a Wall Street rally sparked by lower oil prices, but a plunge of more than 5% in the ailing Chinese stock market took centre stage.
The key index in Shanghai plummeted 5.21% as hopes of an Olympic rally disintegrated. The slide leaves the Chinese bourse languishing nearly 60% off its high in October last year.
China is battling both slowing economic growth and high inflation, a challenge underscored by data on Monday showing a falling trade surplus and factory gate inflation at a 12-year high. Investors had been hoping for a “feel-good” factor in the run up to, and during the Olympics from 8-24 August, but sentiment appears to have soured instead.
Hong Kong edged down following the trouble on the mainland Chinese bourse. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 25.87 points, or 0.12%, at 21,859.34. But the mood was more positive elsewhere in Asia after a surge of more than 2.5% in the US shares on Friday sparked by lower oil prices.
Japan led the gainers among the region’s major markets, rising around 2%. The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 262.50 points to end at 13,430.91. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares added 20.07 points, or 1.59%, to 1,280.00.
Taiwan was up 1.62%, with the weighted index gaining 116.58 points to 7,325.62.
Australia, South Korea and Singapore also ended in the black. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index in Sydney closed up 39.90 points at 5,026.10. TheKospi index in Seoul ended up 12.37 points at 1,581.09, while the Straits Times Index inSingapore added 17.85 pointsto 2,825.39.
Among smaller markets,India vaulted more than 2%, while the Philippines rose nearly 3%. Thailand jumped more than 1.5% after ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra said he would go into exile, cooling concerns about domestic political stability.
Oil prices were trading at around $117 (Rs4,914) per barrel on Monday, pushed up on supply concerns due to the conflict between Georgia and Russia.
However, they remain well below all-time highs above $147 per barrel hit in July, assuaging some concerns about high inflation.