SINGAPORE – Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday as investors reacted to the Bank of Korea’s rate decision.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.47% to close at 2,980.27 after the Bank of Korea raised its policy rate by 25 basis points to 1%, a move widely expected by analysts in a Reuters poll .
Following the move, the Korean won traded at 1,189.89 to the dollar, weaker than around 1,185 levels seen against the greenback yesterday.
The South Korean central bank’s move follows a similar move by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday.
Trinh Nguyen of Natixis told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday that the Bank of Korea was “ahead of the curve because it could afford it,” given the economic recovery.
“We see that given the higher rate expectations by the United States and the hawkish minutes you’ve seen by the Fed, it’s a good move not only for South Korea, but also to synchronize with it. the Fed cycle, ”said Nguyen, senior economist at the company.
The minutes released on Wednesday from the US Federal Reserve’s November meeting showed its members expressing concern over inflation and ready to tighten policy if it continues to heat up.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index closed up 0.22% at 24,740.16. Shares of developer Kaisa Group climbed 13.86% as they returned from a trading halt. Kaisa on Thursday announced an offer to bondholders to swap their existing bonds for new ones with extended maturities.
Mainland China stocks closed lower, with the Shanghai composite losing 0.24% to 3,584.18 and the Shenzhen component down 0.401% to 14,827.95.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.67% to close at 29,499.28 while the Topix index rose 0.33% to 2,025.69.
Australian stocks rose on that day, with the S & P / ASX 200 rising 0.11% to 7,407.30.
The largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan rose 0.05%.
Currencies and oil
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.699 after rising from levels below 96.5 earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen was trading at 115.33 per dollar, lower than the levels below 114.5 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $ 0.72, still above the above $ 0.724 levels seen earlier in the trading week.
Oil prices were down in the afternoon of trading hours in Asia, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.1% to $ 82.17 a barrel. US crude futures fell 0.24% to $ 78.20 a barrel.