Oil Falls More Than 3% as Asia-Pacific Stocks Mostly Down

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday due to the sharp drop in oil prices.

Asian afternoon trading hours, an international benchmark Brent Crude Futures it fell 3.48% to $109.50 a barrel. us crude oil futures it fell 4.23% to $103.26 a barrel.

the american president by Joe Biden The administration is considering a plan to release 1 million barrels of oil a day from the strategic petroleum reserve for about six months, a source told NBC News. World oil prices have soared in volatile trade since Russia invaded Ukraine more than a month ago.

“The issues we’re seeing with Russia are medium to long-term and unfortunately an SPR launch is only a short-term fix,” said Warren Peterson, ING’s chief commodity strategist. “Ultimately, these volumes will continue to be below the Russian disruptions we are seeing due to self-sanction, so the market will continue to be tight.”

Meanwhile, Rachel Ziemba of Ziemba Insights said she’d keep an eye out for messages about replenishing supplies.

“The question comes out of this issue of what is the message on how it’s going to be reloaded. Otherwise it’s going to look like a short-term political move and I think it’s going to end up backfiring,” Ziemba, the firm’s founder, told ” Street Signs Asia” from CNBC.

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In the broader Asia-Pacific markets, mainland Chinese stocks fell on the day as the Shanghai Composite returned 0.44% to 3,252.20 while the Shenzhen Component it fell 1.187% to 12,118.25.

Chinese factory activity contracted in March, according to official data released on Thursday. The country’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for March came in at 49.5, down from February’s reading of 50.2.

The 50-point mark in the PMI readings separates growth from contraction. The PMI readings are sequential and represent a monthly expansion or contraction.

The data comes from an independent survey conducted by China Beige Book showed that Chinese factories were hit harder in the first quarter than last year. In recent weeks, China has also been battling its most serious outbreak of Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

“Omicron’s outbreaks in many Chinese cities have led to lockdowns and disruption of industrial production,” Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, wrote in a note on Thursday. Economic activity is likely to slow further in April, he warned, pointing to a lockdown in shanghai It just started at the end of March.

“The lockdown policy is effective in containing outbreaks in the short term, but in the long term the economic costs could be significant,” Zhang said.

Hong Kong Hang Seng Index it also fell 0.66%, from its last trading hour. Actions of Baidu in the city fell more than 3% after the company was added to a US Securities and Exchange Commission list of companies that could be delisted from US stocks.

In other places, the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed down 0.73% at 27,821.43, while the Topix index fell 1.08% to 1,946.40. South Korea Kospi it was up 0.4%, ending the trading day at 2,757.65.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX200 in Australia it lost 0.2%, closing at 7,499.60.

MSCI’s broader index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan fell 0.44%.

coins

the us dollar indexwhich tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.787 as it struggles to recover after falling from levels above 99 earlier in the week.

the japanese yen was trading at 121.45 per dollar, even stronger than the levels above 124 seen against the dollar earlier this week. the Australian dollar was at $0.7477, having traded largely in a range between $0.747 and $0.753 so far this week.

— CNBC’s Will Koulouris contributed to this report.

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