Asian markets fall as Chinese manufacturing slows

Asian markets fall as Chinese manufacturing slows

BEIJING — Asian stock markets fell Thursday after Chinese manufacturing weakened and Russian shelling around Ukraine shook hopes of progress in peace talks.

The Shanghai Composite Index, or SHCOMP, was down by less than 0.2% after the index of manufacturing activity fell to a five-month low after China shut down much of Shanghai and two smaller industrial cities to fight coronaviruses outbreaks.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, of Capital Economics, said in a report that the outlook for the near-term remains highly uncertain. Even if the outbreak is brought under control soon, it will take a while for the economy to get back on track. The Nikkei 225 NIK, in Tokyo, lost 0.5%, while the Kospi 180721, in Seoul, gained 0.5%.

Sydney s S&P ASX 200 XJO, increased by 0.3% to 7,546. Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.6% on Wednesday after U.S. economic growth was weaker than expected, despite the stock gains in Indonesia JAKIDX, but declined in Singapore STI and Taiwan Y 9999.

Russian forces shelled areas near Kyiv and another city Wednesday after Moscow said it would scale back operations there to promote trust. The five-week old war was underway in Turkey, where negotiations were trying to end it.

Stephen Innes, SPI Asset Management, said in a report that Russia is pouring cold water on headlines of constructive cease-fire talks.

The S&P 500 SPX declined to 4,602. In the final quarter of 2021, the U.S. economy grew at a rate of 6.9%, less than forecasts, according to 45 after Commerce Department data showed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA fell by 0.2% to 35,228. The Nasdaq Composite COMP lost 1.2% to 14,442. Markets gained ground this week as talks between Russia and Ukraine seemed to show progress.

Concerns about higher U.S. interest rates and a Chinese economic slowdown added to the concern about possible disruption of Russian oil and gas exports.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department is due to release its personal income and spending report for February. The Labor Department will release the U.S. employment data for March on Friday.

In electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the benchmark U.S. crude CLK22 fell $6.67 to $101.15 per barrel. The contract rose to $107.82 on Wednesday, up $3.58. Brent crude BRNK 22, the price basis for international oil trading, fell $5.29 to $106.15 per barrel in London. It rose to $113.45 in the last session, up $3.22.

Two people familiar with the decision said that President Joe Biden was preparing to order the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve to help control energy prices.

The release from reserves would be a significant amount and would be close to closing the domestic production gap in February 2020, before the coronaviruses caused a decline in oil output.

The dollarUSDJPY increased from Wednesday's 121.78 yen to 122.22 yen.