Japan stocks set for lower start as investors in Asia look ahead to China’s first-quarter GDP

SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan looked set for a lower start on Monday as investors await the release of Chinese economic data, including the economic powerhouse’s first-quarter gross domestic product figures.

The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 26,915 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 27,040. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 27,093.19.

A slew of Chinese economic data, including the country’s first-quarter GDP and industrial production figures for March, are set to be released at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN.

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The data comes as mainland China has for weeks been battling its worst Covid wave in two years. In particular, the major city of Shanghai has been among the areas most affected.

Markets in Australia and Hong Kong are closed on Monday for a holiday.

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The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 100.484 — continuing to hold above the 100.4 level after a recent bounce from below 100.

The Japanese yen traded at 126.58 per dollar after weakening last week from below 125 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7394, lower as compared with levels above $0.747 seen last week.

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