Asia-Pacific markets mostly fall as yen weakens to fresh 38-year lows; South Korea inflation in focus

On Tuesday, Asia-Pacific markets experienced a mixed performance, contrasting the gains seen on Wall Street the previous day, where the Nasdaq Composite reached a new record due to the strong performance of tech stocks such as Microsoft, Apple, and Nvidia. The Asian markets were assessing South Korea’s inflation numbers for June, which came in at 2.4%, slightly below the predicted rate of 2.7% by economists polled by Reuters.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose by 0.64% while the Topix climbed by 1.05%. However, the Japanese yen weakened significantly against the US dollar, reaching a 38-year low of 161.67. In South Korea, the Kospi fell by 0.68% and the small-cap Kosdaq declined by 1.44% following the release of the inflation data. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched up by 0.6%, while mainland China’s CSI 300 saw a slight decrease of 0.15%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped by 0.15%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia released the minutes from its June monetary policy meeting, indicating that board members discussed the possibility of raising interest rates but decided to maintain them at 4.35%. Members expressed optimism that they could still achieve the board’s goal of returning inflation to target without causing unemployment, although they acknowledged that this “narrow path” was becoming increasingly narrow.

Overnight in the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both posted gains, increasing by 0.13% and 0.27% respectively. This report was contributed to by CNBC’s Brian Evans and Samantha Subin.

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