Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as oil rises; Reserve Bank of Australia keeps cash rate target unchanged
- Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia announced Tuesday its decision to keep the cash rate target unchanged at 0.1%.
- Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed on Tuesday for a holiday.
SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday, while the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its cash rate target unchanged.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 climbed 0.19% to close at 27,787.98 while the Topix index shed 0.23% to 1,949.12.
South Korea's Kospi ended its trading day fractionally higher at 2,759.20. Elsewhere, Australia stocks rose as the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.19% on the day to 7,527.90.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore's Straits Times index gained 0.39%, as of 3:15 p.m. local time. Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed on Tuesday for a holiday.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.37% higher.
Oil moves higher
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours on Tuesday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.9% to $108.50 per barrel. U.S. crude futures climbed 0.89% to $104.20 per barrel.
Oil prices jumped on Monday as investors braced for the prospect of more Western sanctions on Russia following allegations of civilian massacres near Ukrainian towns.
The European Union's new sanctions on Russia are likely to include steel, luxury, jet fuel and more, sources told CNBC. The bloc, however, remains divided over whether to extend those sanctions to energy imports.
"It's like a little dance that has been going on around energy sanctions," Vandana Hari, founder of Vanda Insights, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Tuesday. "The U.S. banned Russian oil imports but we know that it's a far more difficult decision … for Europe."
"We also have to think about what Putin might do in retaliation, so you know that's another major headache for the European Union," she said.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced Tuesday its decision to keep the cash rate target unchanged at 0.1%.
"The Board has wanted to see actual evidence that inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3 per cent target range before it increases interest rates," said RBA Governor Philip Lowe. "Inflation has picked up and a further increase is expected, but growth in labour costs has been below rates that are likely to be consistent with inflation being sustainably at target."
Following that decision the Australian dollar surged more than 1% to $0.7626, continuing to trek upward after yesterday's jump from below $0.75.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.886 after touching an earlier high of 99.028.
The Japanese yen traded at 122.65 per dollar, weaker as compared with levels below 122 seen against the greenback last week.