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Asia: Hong Kong leads way as most Asia markets advance


[HONG KONG] Asian markets mostly rose on Tuesday, with Hong Kong leading the way as it played catch-up after a public holiday, but Tokyo edged back slightly from a seven-day winning run that has taken it to 15-year highs.

Greece's snail-like talks with creditors over reforming its bailout conditions continue to weigh on the euro, with little sign of a deal in sight despite a repayment deadline next week.

Hong Kong added 1.68 per cent, with Chinese firms listed in the city lifted by hopes for more economy-boosting measures from the mainland government.

Shanghai jumped 0.85 per cent, a day after enjoying a more than three percent advance.

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Sydney gained 0.80 per cent, Tokyo was marginally lower and Seoul was flat.

With Wall Street and most European markets closed for public holidays there were few catalysts to drive business.

Traders are awaiting the release of key US data this week including revised economic growth for the first quarter and durable goods orders.

The results will provide more of an idea about the Federal Reserve's timetable for raising interest rates. The central bank's chief Janet Yellen said Friday she expects a hike "at some point this year" although she warned there were still weaknesses in the economy.

On currency markets the dollar was at 121.60 yen compared with 121.66 yen Monday The euro slipped US$1.0969 and 133.38 yen from US$1.0980 and 133.60 yen.

Investors are warily watching Greece's talks with the European Union and International Monetary Fund, which have dragged on for months with little progress.

On Monday, Athens said it would keep servicing for as long as it can, with about 300 million euros (S$441.5 million) due on June 5.

"To the extent that we are able to pay, we will keep on repaying these obligations," spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told reporters.

He added: "It is the government's responsibility to be able to repay all these obligations... It is also the responsibility of the creditors to be faithful to (their) loan obligations."

Greece's government has been tied up in negotiations with its creditors for the past four months in a bid to unlock some 7.2 billion euros in bailout cash but it has refused to agree to many of the austerity measures demanded of it.

There are fears that if it defaults on its repayments Greece could end up tumbling out of the eurozone.

Oil prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery gained eight cents to US$59.80 while Brent crude for July fell three cents to US$65.49.

Gold fetched US$1,206.71 compared with US$1,204.22 late Monday.