A man looks at an electronic board with stock information on the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday, February 6, 2018.

Brendon Thorne | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Asia Pacific markets traded higher for the most part on Monday, with indices in Australia, Hong Kong and mainland China making gains.

Australia’s ASX 200 benchmark rose 0.16% as investors kept an eye on the country’s Covid-19 situation. The Australian dollar changed hands against the greenback at $ 0.7354, climbing $ 0.7326 from previous levels. The Aussie fell from levels above $ 0.7400 after a resurgent dollar on Friday on strong non-farm wage data.

Australia reported 280 new Covid cases over a 24-hour period on Sunday, most of them in the populous state of New South Wales. According to reports, around 15 million people, or 60% of the country’s population, are under strict lockdown.

In South Korea, the Kospi index mimicked most of its previous losses, trading almost unchanged at 3,269.17. The Kosdaq also lost 0.05%. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.97%.

Mainland China stocks traded mixed: the Shanghai composite rose 0.56% while the Shenzhen stake was slightly lower.

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New hires in the United States rose as quickly in July as it has for almost a year, despite fears about the Covid-19 Delta variant and shortage of labor.

“The market reacted positively to the strong wage data outside of agriculture, with an increase in risk (not always the case this year),” analysts from ANZ Research said in a statement on Monday morning.

“The strength of the data confirms the Fed’s view that the labor market will remain buoyant throughout the summer despite concerns about the Delta variant,” the analysts wrote, adding that there is still a long way to go before employment , Friday’s numbers offset some of the pessimism that had built up.

The markets in Japan and Singapore are closed on public holidays.

China’s export growth slowed unexpectedly in July, while imports also lost momentum. Exports were up 19.3% year over year, compared to a 32.2% increase in June and a 20.8% market forecast, Reuters reported. Imports rose 28.1% year over year, less than a market forecast of 33%.

“Extreme weather conditions and local Covid outbreaks have not helped, while supply disruptions have also hampered export activities,” Rodrigo Catril, a senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a morning note.

China is expected to release inflation data on Monday.

The lack of consumer inflationary pressures “is not an obstacle to further monetary easing, an issue that is likely to attract more attention if the incoming data flow shows further economic slowdown,” said Catril.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar traded HK / SIN at 92.811 versus a basket of its competitors at 10:44 a.m., sliding down from an earlier level around 92.921.

Oil prices fell more than 2% during Asian trading hours on Monday.

US crude fell 2.33% to $ 66.69 a barrel, while the global benchmark Brent fell 2.22% to $ 69.13.