Asia markets trade mixed as China’s National People’s Congress continues

KEY POINTS
  • Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 was up 1.75%, with all sectors trading higher.
  • In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 1.53% while South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.89%.
  • Mainland Chinese shares traded mixed, with the Shanghai composite flat.
  • Markets in Singapore, India and Indonesia were shut due to public holidays.

Asia markets traded mixed on Monday as investor sentiment in some markets remained resilient despite growing concerns over the U.S.-China relationship.

Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 was up 1.75%, with all sectors trading higher. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 1.53% while the Topix index was up 1.42%. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.89%.

Mainland Chinese shares traded mixed: The Shanghai composite was flat, the Shenzhen composite was down 0.37% and the Shenzhen component was down 0.38%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 0.66%, extending Friday’s losses of more than 5%.

Asia Pacific markets declined on Friday after China announced a new national security law, which, if implemented, would give Beijing more control over Hong Kong and may incite further pro-democracy protests in the city. The draft measure was announced as China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) — the country’s parliament — kicked off its annual session and will last until May 28.

“Risk sentiment proved resilient, on Friday night, to concerns about the fallout from China introducing national security legislation in Hong Kong. Weakness in Asian equities gave way to a flattish European session, and mild positivity in the US,” Hayden Dimes at ANZ Research said in a Monday morning note.

Government departments in Hong Kong rallied behind Beijing’s plans on Monday after thousands took to the streets to protest over the weekend, Reuters reported. Security Chief John Lee said “terrorism” was growing in the city and activities that harm national security became more rampant, the news wire said.

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