Asian markets take a hit as Ukraine tensions rise

 
Guy Bentley
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Asian markets have taken a hit after US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia it would be making a "grave mistake" if it did not cease interfering in Ukrainian affairs.

Investors were left disappointed after US President Barack Obama's state visit to Japan failed to secure a trade deal between the two countries.

Many had hoped that a US-Japan free trade deal would pave the way for the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would erase tariffs among twelve countries.

However, markets were somewhat buoyed by the rise of core consumer prices in Tokyo to 2.7 per cent in April from the previous year, the largest rise since 1992. The increase was largely driven by April's sales tax hike and further stimulus from the Bank of Japan (BoJ).

Once the effect of the sales tax increase is removed consumer prices in Tokyo rose by just one per cent. The figure is half that of the BoJ target, raising hopes among some investors that the central bank will undertake more monetary stimulus.

Japan's Nikkei is up 0.09 per cent, with the Topix rising by 0.3 per cent. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite has retreated by 0.1 per cent, while South Korea's Kospi fell by a heftier 1.1 per cent. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index is down 1.3 per cent.