SINGAPORE – Shares in Japan appeared to open lower on the last trading day in January, with markets in mainland China and South Korea closing on New Year’s Eve.
The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was 26,720, while its counterpart in Osaka was 26,670. That compares with the Nikkei 225’s last closing of 26,717.34.
In Australia, the S & P / ASX 200 fell 0.79% in morning trading.
Regionally, the markets in Hong Kong and Singapore are also set to close early on Monday ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
China’s factory activity data
Official data released on Sunday showed that growth in Chinese manufacturing activity slowed in January. The country’s official purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing for January was 50.1, just above the level of 50, which separates growth from decline. January reading compared to December’s figure of 50.3.
Meanwhile, a private study released over the weekend showed that Chinese manufacturing activity declined in January. Caixin / Markit manufacturing PMI came in at 49.1 for the month.
PMI readings are sequential and represent month-to-month expansion or contraction.
The US dollar index, which follows the dollar against a basket of its peers, was at 97,293 after a recent rise from below the 97 level.
The Japanese yen traded at 115.35 per dollar, after weakening last week from below 114.6 against the dollar. The Australian dollar was at $ 0.699 after falling in the previous trading week from over $ 0.714.