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Asia-Pacific markets slip as investors await Australia and Japan inflation data later this week

A cafe at the Royal Arcade, Bourke Street Mall, in Melbourne, Australia.

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Asia-Pacific markets mostly fell on Monday as investors awaited inflation data from Australia and Japan later this week.

Australia’s May consumer price index reading, due on Wednesday, will be in focus after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Michelle Bullock revealed the central bank discussed hiking rates at its last meeting.

Should inflation come in higher than expected and spur the RBA to raise rates, it would be the first major Asia-Pacific central bank to do so in an environment where investors are waiting for rate cuts, barring Japan.

The RBA has two inflation readings to consider — June 26 and July 31— before its next meeting on Aug. 6.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.65%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.24%, while the Topix was 0.26% higher, the only major benchmarks in Asia in positive territory.

On Monday, the Bank of Japan revealed it discussed raising interest rate during its June monetary policy meeting. It said, however, “any change in the policy interest rate should be considered only after economic indicators confirm that, for example, the CPI inflation rate has clearly started to rebound and medium to long-term inflation expectations have risen.”

Last week, BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda reportedly told the country’s parliament that the central bank could raise rates as soon as its July meeting.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 1.1%, and mainland China’s CSI 300 lost 0.5%. China reported a 2.8% fall in fiscal revenue for the first five months of 2024 compared to 2023, widening from a 2.7% year-on-year fall from January to April.

For May alone, fiscal revenue was down 3.2% year on year, a softer fall than the 3.7% slide in April.

South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.82%, and the small-cap Kosdaq was 1.08% lower.

On Friday in the U.S., the S&P 500 ticked lower as shares of market bellwether Nvidia pulled back for a second day.

Nvidia shares declined 3.2%. On Thursday, the stock hit an all-time high before closing more than 3% lower. 

Overall, the S&P fell 0.16%, while the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.18%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.04%.

“Technology stocks continue to be in the spotlight,” said Emily Roland, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management. “I can’t remember a time when one single stock … has been so influential on the market, and that’s really been a key driver of the market action as of late.”

—CNBC’s Samantha Subin and Hakyung Kim contributed to this report.

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