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Taiwan’s Taiex bounces back as it soars more than 3%; Asia-Pacific markets rise

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific jumped in Tuesday morning trade, as investors reacted to the release of Japan’s first quarter gross domestic data.

The Taiex in Taiwan surged 3.28% in Tuesday morning trade. Those gains followed a nearly 3% drop on Monday amid fears of domestic coronavirus infections.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 also saw robust gains as it jumped 2.12% while the Topix index advanced 1.49%.

Japan’s economy shrank at an annualized rate of 5.1% in January to March, government data showed Tuesday. On a seasonally adjusted basis, gross domestic product in January-March fell 1.3% quarter-on-quarter, slightly lower than expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.2% decline. That came as resurgent Covid infections in the country snapped two quarters of consecutive growth.

Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 1.3%. Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher, with the Shanghai composite rising 0.21% while the Shenzhen component gained 0.28%.

South Korea’s Kospi edged 1.1% higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.73%. Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s May monetary policy meeting released Tuesday showed the central bank’s board viewed the conditions for a rate rise as unlikely to be met “until 2024 at the earliest.”

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded around 1% higher.

On the coronavirus front, the World Health Organization warned Monday that the global pandemic isn’t over yet despite high Covid vaccination rates in some countries. In Asia, places such as Singapore and Taiwan have seen a recent resurgence in local infections, prompting authorities to tighten restrictions in a bid to stem the virus’ spread.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.135 — still off levels above 90.8 seen recently.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.16 per dollar after strengthening from levels around 109.5 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.779, stronger than levels below $0.774 seen last week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.32% to $69.68 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.3% to $66.47 per barrel.

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