Japan’s Nikkei 225 drops almost 2%; China’s first-quarter GDP tops expectations

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia slipped in Monday morning trade as investors await Chinese economic data, including the economic powerhouse’s first-quarter gross domestic product figures.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.24% in early trade as shares of Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group declined more than 1% each. The Topix index shed 0.88%.

South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.5%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.24% lower.

A slew of Chinese economic data, including the country’s first-quarter GDP and industrial production figures for March, are set to be released at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN.

The data comes as mainland China has for weeks been battling its worst Covid wave in two years. In particular, the major city of Shanghai has been among the areas most affected.

Markets in Australia and Hong Kong are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 100.523 — continuing to hold above the 100.4 level after a recent bounce from below 100.

The Japanese yen traded at 126.62 per dollar after weakening last week from below 125 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7396, lower as compared with levels above $0.747 seen last week.

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