Tuesday, September 3, 2019
China's main stock index closed at its highest level in more than a month on Wednesday, while its currency, the yuan, briefly dipped to a record low in overseas trading.
The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) ended up 0.2% at 2,930.15, the best close since July 31. It extended a 1.3% rally on Monday. Infrastructure, shipbuilding and consumer electronics stocks continued to lead the market higher after promising economic data on Monday showed China's manufacturing sector expanded to a five-month high.
Japan's Nikkei (N225) closed up by less than 0.1%.
But Hong Kong's Hang Seng (HSI) finished down 0.4%, following slight weakness Monday. Last month, the Hang Seng recorded a 7.4% drop — one of the worst among major global indexes. The index has been weighed down by escalating US-China trade tensions as well as intensifying protests in the city.
South Korea's Kospi (KOSPI) fell 0.2%.
The Chinese yuan touched a record low in offshore trading early Tuesday morning — it briefly hit 7.196 yuan per one US dollar, the lowest since it began trading outside of mainland China in 2010. It's now trading a bit higher at 7.184 per dollar, which is slightly stronger than Monday.
So far this year, the yuan has lost about 4.6% against the dollar in offshore trading, where the currency trades more freely.
The onshore yuan, meanwhile, was trading at around 7.179 per dollar Tuesday. It has also fallen around 4.4% this year.
Here's what is happening elsewhere at about 4:30 p.m. Hong Kong time:
* The Reserve Bank of Australia left its cash rate unchanged at 1%. The decision was expected. "The outlook for the global economy remains reasonable," though risks remain, said the central bank's governor, Philip Lowe, in a statement. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was down about 0.1%.
* Xiaomi, which is the world's fourth largest smartphone manufacturer, jumped 4.2% in Hong Kong after it announced a share buyback plan of up to 12 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.5 billion).
* South Korea revised its estimate for GDP growth for the second quarter on Tuesday. Its GDP expanded by 1% in the quarter compared with the first quarter, which is slightly lower than a previous estimate, the Bank of Korea said.
* US markets were closed Monday because of the Labor Day holiday.
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