KEY POINTS
China’s exports grew slightly more than expected in December, while imports rose less than expected, according to customs data released Friday
Citi is set to sell its retail businesses in four Southeast Asian countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam — to Singapore lender United Overseas Bank
South Korea’s central bank raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%, the highest since March 2020
.
.
.

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan and South Korea led losses in major Asia-Pacific markets on Friday as the recent rally in U.S. stocks broke momentum with the Nasdaq snapping a three-day winning streak

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.28% to close at 28,124.28, while the Topix tumbled 1.39% to 1,977.66. Autos and tech stocks declined. SoftBank was down 1.24%, while Sony lost nearly 2%

South Korea’s Kospi was down 1.36% to close at 2,921.92 and Australia’s ASX 200 dipped 1.08% to close at 7,393.90, with bank stocks falling

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.32% in the final hour of trade. The Hang Seng Tech index recovered from earlier losses to last decline 0.75%, as Alibaba declined 2.5% and JD fell 2.86%

Mainland Chinese stocks struggled for direction as the Shanghai composite declined nearly 1% to 3,521.26, while the Shenzhen component traded little changed to close at 14,150.57

Meanwhile, South Korea’s central bank raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%, the highest since March 2020 and back to the rate it was at before the pandemic, according to Reuters

In corporate news in the region, Citi is set to sell its retail businesses in four Southeast Asian countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam — to Singapore lender United Overseas Bank (UOB). UOB said Citi’s consumer business had a total net asset value of about $4 billion Singapore dollars ($2.9 billion)

The cash offer for the proposed acquisition will be calculated based on an aggregate premium equivalent to $915 million Singapore dollars, plus the net asset value of Citi’s consumer business, UOB said in a statement

UOB shares rose 2.57% following the news

China’s exports and imports rise

China’s exports grew slightly more than expected in December, while imports rose less than expected, according to customs data released Friday

Exports rose by 20.9% year-on-year in U.S. dollar-terms, above the 20% increase forecast by a Reuters poll. Imports grew by 19.5% in U.S. dollar-terms, missing expectations of a 26.3% increase

Overall, in 2021, total exports rose 29.9%, compared to a 3.6% gain in 2020. Imports jumped 30.1% in 2021, after dropping 1.1% in 2020, according to Reuters