HONG KONG (Reuters) - Asian shares were mixed across the region on Tuesday as investors fretted over China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis and a widening power shortage in China.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was just slightly higher by mid-afternoon after trading in the red following a mixed session on Wall Street.
During the Asian time zone, Brent crude oil hit $80 a barrel for the first time in three years, driven by regional economies beginning to reopen from the pandemic and supply concerns.
The dollar was was trading flat in late Asian trading.
Yields on two-year Treasuries rose to 18-month highs as investors priced in the prospect of rising cash rates and the risk of persistent inflation, forcing the U.S government to pay more to sell its debt.
Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down nearly 1.42%, led by a sell off in healthcare and technology stocks, while Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.3% after halving its initial losses.
China’s blue chip index CSI300 edged up 0.24%, as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 1.57% snapping a recent run of negative sessions.
Hong Kong and mainland China’s major property indices rose between 3% to 8% after the People’s Bank of China (OBOC) pledged to support homeowners.
“There has been positive news for the property sector, and markets are digesting that after all of the negative news flow of the past few days,” Tammy Leung, Everbright Sun Hung Kai strateigst said.
Investors remain on edge over the future of Evergrande, after the world’s most indebted property developer failed to ot meet a deadline to make an interest payment to offshore bond holders.
Evergrande has 30 days to make the payment before it falls into default and Shenzen authorities are now investigating the company's wealth management unit.
Without making reference to Evergrande, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said Monday in a statement posted to its website that it would “safeguard the legitimate rights of housing consumers”.
Widening power shortages in China, meanwhile, halted production at a number of factories including suppliers to Apple Inc and Tesla Inc and are expected to hit the country's manufacturing sector and associated supply chains.
Analysts cautioned the ongoing blackouts could affect the country’s listed industrial stocks.
“What we see in China with the developers and the blackouts is going to be a negative weight on the Asian markets,” Tai Hui, JPMorgan Asset Management’s Asian chief market strategist told Reuters.
“Most people are trying to work out the potential contagion effect with Evergrande and how far and wide it could go. We keep monitoring the policy response and we have started to see some shift towards supporting homebuyers which is what we have been expecting.”
Commonwealth Bank economists estimate two months of power rationing in key provinces in China could shave 0.1 percentage points off this year’s economic growth, and 0.3 percentage points off next year’s.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 144.36 points, or 0.41%, to 34,942.36, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 4.57 points, or 0.10%, to 4,450.91 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 68.29 points, or 0.45%, to 14,979.41.
U.S. Treasury yields soared to a three-month high, touching 1.516% overnight following the Federal Reserve’s move last week to indicate fiscal stimulus could be tapered as early as November.
Investors are looking ahead to speeches later this week from several senior Fed officials.
Reporting by Scott Murdoch; editing by Richard Pullin & Simon Cameron-Moore