Asian Shares Advance As China Eases Quarantine Rules

Asian stocks fluctuated before closing mostly higher on Tuesday after China announced changes to testing and quarantine rules in the first step towards easing border controls.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index reversed an early slide to close 0.9 percent higher at 3,409.21 as health authorities cut the mandatory quarantine period for inbound visitors to 10 days from three weeks.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also reversed course to end 0.9 percent higher at 22,418.97. Sentiment was underpinned by an official’s remarks that China will roll out tools in its policy reserve in a timely way to cope with more economic challenges.

Japanese shares ended on a positive note after having spent most of the day in the red. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.7 percent to settle at 27,049.47, closing above the psychologically important 27,000 level for the first time in two weeks and extending its winning streak to a fourth straight session. The broader Topix shot up 1.1 percent to 1,907.38.

Energy stocks rallied after crude prices jumped nearly 1 percent in Asian trading. Inpex Corp. surged 4.9 percent and Japan Petroleum climbed 4.8 percent.

Tokyo Electric Power soared 7.2 percent as the government warned of tight power supply amid a heat wave in the Japanese capital.

Seoul stocks extended their winning streak to a third day, led by gains by automobile, airline and technology stocks. State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. led losses to close 3.7 percent lower. The Kospi gained 0.8 percent to close at 2,422.09.

Australian markets hit a two-week high as miners and energy stocks surged on optimism over Chinese demand. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.9 percent to 6,763.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index added 0.9 percent to end at 6,953.40.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group rose 2-3 percent on expectations that China’s decision to ease some COVID-19 restrictions and the country’s pledge to support its economy would boost iron ore demand.

Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside Energy jumped 2-3 percent in the energy sector. Seafood supplier Tassal Group spiked 16.1 percent after rejecting a sweetened $721 million takeover offer from Canada’s Cooke Inc.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index edged up 0.2 percent to 11,018.62, rising for a third straight day amid renewed interest in a2 Milk shares.

U.S. stocks struggled for direction before finishing lower overnight, as Moscow defaulted on its sovereign debt for the first time since 1918 and oil prices rose amid efforts by G7 countries to try to cap the price that importers pay for Russian crude.

The Dow slipped 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 eased 0.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.7 percent despite positive durable goods orders and housing data.

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