Asia Markets

Asia Pacific stocks mixed; Brent crude spikes more than 8% after Saudi attacks

Key Points
  • Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Monday.
  • Crude prices spiked in the afternoon of Asian trading hours after drone strikes on crucial production facilities in Saudi Arabia.
  • China's industrial production growth saw its slowest pace in 17 and a half years in August, rising just 4.4% year-on-year.
  • Markets in Japan were closed on Monday for a holiday.

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Monday, as oil prices surged following drone attacks over the weekend that hit major oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Mainland Chinese stocks were little changed on the day, with the Shanghai composite little changed at around 3,030.75 while the Shenzhen component was just below the flatline at 9,918.09. The Shenzhen composite added 0.23% to approximately 1,685.09.

A cut in the reserve requirement ratio for banks by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) went into effect on Monday. The PBOC said in early September that its reserve requirement ratio would be cut by 50 basis points and it would further reduce that ratio by 100 basis points for some qualified banks. That's set to release 800 billion yuan ($113 billion) in liquidity into the economy.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed about 1%, as of its final hour of trading. Shares of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing slipped 2.16% following the rejection of its takeover bid by the London Stock Exchange Group last Friday.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed fractionally higher at 6,673.50 as majority of the sectors declined with the exception of the energy subindex, which soared 3.99% on the back of a surge in oil prices.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.64% to end its trading day at 2,062.22 higher despite shares of chipmaker SK Hynix plunging 3.75%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.32% lower.

Markets in Japan were closed on Monday for a holiday.

Crude prices surge, oil stocks spike

Crude prices spiked in the afternoon of Asian trading hours after drone strikes on crucial oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia.

International benchmark Brent crude futures skyrocketed 8.67% to $65.44 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures jumped 7.91% to $59.19 per barrel. Earlier on Monday, Brent spiked as much as 19% to $71.95 a barrel, while U.S. crude jumped more than 15% to a session high of $63.34 a barrel.

Shares of oil companies in Asia Pacific surged on Monday. Australia's Woodside Petroleum jumped 4.31% and Santos gained 4.87%. Over in South Korea, S-Oil saw its stock gain 2.31%. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese oil titan Petrochina also soared 4.97% while CNOOC skyrocketed 7.23%, as of their final hour of trading.

Over the weekend, drone attacks hit the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil production facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels. Half the country's oil production was halted due to fire damage and an assessment of the situation is due on Monday, Saudi energy ministry officials said.

National oil company Saudi Aramco is attempting to restore about a third of its crude output by Monday following the attacks, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

Strategists at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said the uptick in crude prices may not last.

"The drone attacks have hit the oil market at a time when there is a global oil glut and global growth is weak," they wrote in a note. "Consequently, the impact on oil prices and global growth is not expected to be significant or last long."

China industrial output growth slows further

China's industrial production growth saw its slowest pace in 17 and a half years in August, rising just 4.4% year-on-year.

That came in below a forecast of a 5.2% year-on-year increase by analysts in a Reuters poll. Industrial output growth in the country saw an expected drop to a more than 17-year low in July.

"I think it is very much a bottoming process that we're seeing in the Chinese economy," Leon Goldfeld, multi-asset portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Monday.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 98.192 after seeing highs above 98.8 last week.

The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency in times of market turmoil, strengthened to 107.85 against the dollar after seeing lows above 108.0 late last week.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6873 after rising from levels below $0.684 in the previous trading week.

— Reuters and CNBC's Natasha Turak contributed to this report.