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Asia equities fall as US dollar holds at 11-month low

Asia Pacific equities fell on Friday as the US dollar hovered at 11-month lows and the euro held at a two-year high achieved on Thursday as the market digested comments from the European Central Bank’s president.

In Australia the S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.6 per cent as financials fell 0.6 per cent and materials fell 1.3 per cent. BHP Billiton fell as much as 2 per cent after Elliot Advisors said it had “deep concerns” over the miner’s multi-billion dollar plan to enter the fertiliser market.

Japan’s Topix index was down 0.3 per cent snapping two days of gains as financials fell 0.8 per cent. Camera maker Nikon rose as much as 3 per cent after Nomura boosted its outlook for lithography equipment.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng index was down 0.1, struggling to notch a tenth consecutive day of gains to match a winning streak recorded in November 2011. Li Ka-shing’s Power Assets Holdings jumped as much as 11.1 per cent after the company reported net profit for the six months to June rose 16 per cent to HK$4.02bn ($515m) and proposed a special dividend of HK$7.5 a share.

The US dollar was languishing at 11-month lows after falling to its lowest since August on a report that Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, had expanded his probe to transactions involving the president’s businesses. The dollar index, a measure of the currency against a basket of peers, was flat at 94.303.

The euro was flat at $1.1625 after climbing to its highest point against the US currency since August 2015 on Thursday as the market viewed comments from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi as dovish.