Asian Stocks open mixed as markets absorb economic data

2019-04-17 11:05:46 GMT (
Asian Stocks open mixed as markets absorb economic data

Asian stocks opened the week's third sessions on mixed performance, as the Chinese stock indices opened mixed, with the Japanese and New Zealand's stocks rising, while the Australian, Hong Kong's Hang Seng and the South Korean Kospi Index fell on Wednesday, following economic data released by New Zealand and Japan as well as the Chinese economy, the second largest economy in the world.


New Zealand's economy released its reading for inflation data today, as the quarterly consumer prices index (CPI) showed a steady growth of 0.1%, unchanged from the previous quarter, as opposed to expectations of a 0.3% growth rate. while the annual CPI reading showed that growth slowed to 1.5% from 1.9% in the previous, worse than estimates of 1.7%, which boosted prospects for New Zealand to decrease the interest rates in the coming period.


This came ahead of the Japanese economy's reading of the trade balance, which showed the overall surplus widened to 529 billion yen from 335 billion yen in February, beating expectations of a surplus of 363 billion yen, while the revised goods trade balance reading showed a deficit of 118 billion yen against a surplus of 116 billion yen from the previous, the current reading is better than forecasts of a deficit by 243 billion yen.


The annual reading of Japan's exports, the nerve of the world's third-largest economy, showed a 2.4% drop vs 1.2 percent in February's, beating expectations for a 2.6% increase, while imports rose 1.1% as it fell 6.6% in the previous annual reading for February, below expectations of a rise of 2.8%.


Additionally, China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the Quarterly (quarter-on-quarter) GDP Growth reading for the first quarter of 2019, which showed a slower pace of growth to 1.4% in line with estimates compared to 1.5% the fourth quarter of 2018, while the same index for Year-on-year showed a steady growth of 6.4%, the same as the previous reading in the fourth quarter while above the market expectations of a 6.3% expansion.


NBS also revealed the annual reading of the Retail Sales index, which showed growth accelerated to 8.7% from 8.2% in the previous February's reading, beating expectations of an acceleration to 8.3%, as the annual reading of Industrial Output showed accelerated growth to 8.5% versus 5.3%, well above expectations of 5.6%, and also the unemployment rate reading, which decreased to 5.2% from 5.3% in


Other than that, earlier this week, Governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, said in an interview with CNBC that some types of trade protectionism in international trade were the most serious threat to the global economy. This came in conjunction with the Japanese Economy Minister, Hiroshige Seko, visit to the United States for formal trade talks between Tokyo and Washington, which will continue till Thursday.


The Japanese Minister said during a press conference with the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington on Monday, that he had “frank and good” trade talks with his US counterpart, in response to US President Donald Trump's recent criticism on the trade surplus in favor of Japan with his country, which reached a peak of $69 billion and that he wants to reach a two-way deal to address it.


Markets are also focusing on the ongoing trade negotiations between the United States and China amid expectations that a trade deal is on the horizon, which could avoid a major trade war between the two countries, as the US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, recently praised the course of events during the US-China trade negotiations, saying that the two countries are close to reaching a final agreement.


In terms of trading, the Japanese stock indices increased during today's trading session, with the broader Topix index rising by 0.31% to gain 5.10 points up to the level of 1,631.56, Nikkei 225 rose 0.30% by 67.66 points up to 22,289.32.


As for the Chinese stock indices, CSI 300 index fell 0.11% to lose 4.68 points and reach 4,081.11, while Shanghai Composite rose 0.10% to gain 3.16 points and reached 3,256.76.


Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.06% 17.13 points to 30,112.74. South Korea's Kospi Index fell 0.07%, shedding 1.68 points to 2,246.95.


To New Zealand's NZX 50 index, which rose 0.52% 51.40 points to reach 9,959.79. On the other hand, the Australian S&P/ASX 200 index fell by 0.24% 14.95 points to reach 6,262.50.

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