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  • Asia-Pacific shares portray a sluggish start to the week amid Fed tapering talks.
  • Strong NZ Retail Sales, large-scale vaccinations in Japan ignored.
  • China’s NDRC held talks with commodity companies, US raises questions about covid origin.

Asian equities remain depressed on Monday as traders struggle to justify vaccine optimism and upbeat data amid the fears of Fed tapering and China’s moves to tame commodity price speculations.

New Zealand marked strong Retail Sales for Q1, beating -4.4% forecast and -2.7% previous readouts to reprint 2.5% QoQ figures. Even so, NZX 50 drops 0.30% by the press time as traders turn cautious ahead of Wednesday’s RBNZ meeting. On the other hand, Australia’s ASX 200 adds 0.24% following the S&P 500 Futures amid a light calendar at home.

China’s state planner National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) held talks with commodity companies to, “severely punish commodity monopolies”. Such comments weigh on the commodity prices, especially on iron ore and copper, not to forget restricting equity gains even as the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) showed readiness to limit Yuan moves.

Amid these plays, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan drops 0.14% intraday whereas Japan’s Nikkei 225 trims day’s gains to 0.40% by the press time amid chatters over the extension of the virus-led emergency and large-scale vaccinations.

Indian markets remain mildly bid but those from Hong Kong and South Korea print mild losses white writing.

It’s worth mentioning that a light calendar and uncertainty over the Fed’s next move keeps the markets on edge even as the recently flashed activity numbers assured economic recovery from the pandemic.