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Australia: Shares end higher as virus restrictions ease
[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose on Wednesday, tracking Asian peers, after coronavirus-induced restrictions slowly eased around the world and as strong domestic inflation data supported sentiment.
The country's headline consumer price index rose in the first quarter to lift annual inflation to 2.2 per cent, its highest reading in five and a half years, but the long-desired pick-up is likely to be fleeting in the face of a coronavirus lockdown and collapsing energy prices.
A rise in Australia's annual inflation helped soothe some nerves surrounding the underlying economic health of the economy, said Nick Twiddle, general manager at IC Markets.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.51 per cent to 5,393.4 points, off 25.1 per cent from its lifetime high and down 20.51 per cent so far this year.
On the other hand, New Zealand's benchmark index fell 0.9 per cent to 10,666.19, weighed by losses in the healthcare and consumer sectors.