Shares in Australia traded lower in the morning of the first trading day of the year, ahead of the release of a private survey on manufacturing activity in China for December.

The S&P/ASX 200 shed earlier gains to decline 0.17% in morning trade, with majority of the sectors slipping into negative territory.

Over in South Korea, data released Wednesday showed the country’s exports falling less than expected in December. The South Korean markets are expected to begin trading later at 09:00 a.m. HK/SIN due to a temporary change of trading hours for Jan. 2, according to the Korea Exchange.

South Korea’s exports for that month declined 5.2% in December as compared to a year earlier, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing data from the country’s trade ministry. That was lower than median expectations of a 6.0% fall from a Reuters poll.

Investors will also await the release of China’s Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for December, expected to be out around 09:45 a.m. HK/SIN. The official manufacturing PMI released Tuesday came in slightly above expectations.

Markets in Japan are closed on Thursday for a market holiday.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday that he will sign a “phase one” trade deal with China at the White House on Jan. 15. That came following an earlier report by the South China Morning Post indicating Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing’s top trade negotiator, could sign the agreement.

The People’s Bank of China also announced Wednesday on its website that it was going to lower the reserve requirement ratio for banks by 50 basis points with effect from Jan. 6.

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The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.389 after seeing earlier highs above 97.0.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.71 per dollar after touching earlier highs around 108.6. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7016 after rising from levels around $0.692 last week.

What’s on tap:

  • China: Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for December at 09:45 a.m. HK/SIN