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Asia Mostly Falls Wednesday

Asia-Pacific stock markets mostly fell Wednesday as New Zealand’s central bank kept its interest rate steady, while Hong Kong scrapped rules to tighten its property market at its budget announcement.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 31.49 points from its all-time high, settling of 39,208.03.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index plummeted 253.95 points, or 1.5%, to 16,536.85.

Hong Kong said it would do away with property curbs in an effort to buoy its real estate sector. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said he expected the economy to grow in a range of 2.5% to 3.5% this year.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand held its official cash rate at 5.50%, keeping it at a 15-year high, while warning that inflation remained well above its target range.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 moved forward 41.43 points, or 1.2%, to 3,494.79.

China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index reading and the U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index — the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge — are due Thursday.

In other markets

Taiwan was shuttered for holiday.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index shed 13.8 points, or 0.4%, to 3,157.32.

In Korea, the Kospi retreated 22.03 points, or 0.8%, to 2,625.04.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 stepped back 15.29 points, or 0.1%, to 11,694.61.

In Australia, the ASX 200 advanced 10.16 points, or 0.1%, to 7,663.01.