Major Asian stock markets edged higher on Thursday. Investors responded with relief after the House of Representatives approved a recent deal to raise the U.S. government’s debt ceiling. Without Congressional approval, the United States was in danger of quickly running out of money. The deal now goes to the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority. President Joe Biden will then sign the bill into law.
The Nikkei was up 0.6 percent in the final hour of trading in Tokyo, returning above 31,000 points. Japan’s manufacturing activity rose again in May for the first time since October 2022, Bank of Japan data showed. Chip equipment maker Tokyo Electron rose 1.3 percent and technology investor SoftBank rose 4.6 percent. Toyota rose 1.9 percent. The automaker will invest an additional $2.1 billion in its North Carolina battery plant. Electronics and games giant Sony gained an additional 2 percent.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange rose 0.4 percent. Investors were rallied by better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data. Activity in China’s manufacturing sector grew in May, according to data from market researchers Caixin and S&P Global. Official Chinese government figures a day earlier pointed to a contraction in the country’s sizeable industry.
In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong index rose 0.8 percent. A day earlier, the indicator reached its lowest level of the year. Chinese online shopping group JD.com and internet and games giant Tencent showed particularly strong price gains of 4.5 percent and more than 3 percent.
All Ordinaries in Sydney won 0.3 percent. The Kospi in Seoul fell 0.3 percent after another decline in South Korea’s exports. South Korean technology and chip group Samsung lost 0.6 percent and battery maker LG Energy Solutions fell more than 2 percent. Carmakers Hyundai and Kia fell 1.2 and 1.6 percent.
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