(Sharecast News) – Asia-Pacific markets mostly climbed on Friday, buoyed by softer-than-anticipated US inflation data that kindled optimism over a potential easing of inflationary pressures without undermining the labour market.
TickMill market analyst Patrick Munnelly said equity markets in the region were mostly positive in overnight trading, following a favourable performance on Wall Street.
“Yields continued to decline, supported by the softer consumer inflation and PPI data, strengthening the case for just one more rate hike by the Federal Reserve,” he said.
“The Nikkei 225 remained flat, alternating between gains and losses. It faced challenges from the strength of the Japanese yen and speculation that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) might raise its inflation forecast above the 2% target during its upcoming meeting, potentially paving the way for policy normalisation.
“Former BoJ Director Hayakawa anticipated that the BoJ could adjust its yield curve control by raising the 10-year yield ceiling to 1.0%.”
Munnelly noted that the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite were positive, with modest gains despite the People’s Bank of China’s renewed support pledges to maintain appropriate credit growth, along with efforts to strengthen counter-cyclical adjustments and support key sectors.
Most markets rise on US inflation data
Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped marginally by 0.09% to close at 33,391.26, while the broader Topix index fell by 0.17% to end the day at 2,239.10.
The drop was led by Seven & I Holdings, which declined 5.14%, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding which lost 3.51%, and Keisei Electric Railway which ended 2.75% lower.
In China, markets exhibited a mixed performance with the Shanghai Composite inching up 0.04% to close at 3,237.70, while the Shenzhen Component slid down 0.14% to settle at 11,080.32.
Some stocks in Shanghai made substantial gains, as China United Network Communications rallied 10.11% and Calhong Display Devices also surged 10.07%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.33% to conclude at 19,413.78, driven by China Unicom Hong Kong which increased 5.29%.
Other notable gainers included Orient Overseas, which rose 2.77%, and China Hongqiao, which climbed 2.7%.
South Korea’s Kospi witnessed robust gains, rising 1.43% to close at 2,628.30.
Hyundai Mobis led the charge, rallying 6.65%, while Posco International also posted a significant rise of 5.79%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.78% at 7,303.10, led by Neuren Pharmaceuticals which jumped 16.75% and Telix Pharmaceuticals which added 5.33% to its share value.
In New Zealand, markets were closed for the Matariki public holiday.
In currency markets, the Japanese yen and the Australian dollar both depreciated against the greenback, with the dollar last 0.35% stronger on the former to JPY 138.53, and 0.19% against the latter to 1.4567.
In energy markets, oil prices recorded a slight decrease, with Brent crude futures last down 0.07% on ICE at $81.30, while the NYMEX quite for West Texas Intermediate slipped 0.1% to $76.81.
Singapore dodges recession while Australia welcomes new central bank governor
Singapore’s economy steered clear of a technical recession in the second quarter, registering modest growth, according to advance estimates.
The country’s economic growth showed resilience, expanding by 0.7% year-on-year and 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, slightly outperforming the expectations of economists surveyed by Reuters.
Respondents had predicted a growth rate of 0.3% on a quarterly basis and 0.6% on an annual basis.
In the first quarter, Singapore had observed a slight contraction of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, and the growth on a yearly basis was marginal at 0.4%.
Thus, the positive growth numbers in the second quarter were indeed a silver lining for the island city-state.
Elsewhere, and in a significant development down under, Michele Bullock, currently the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, was now set to take the reins as the new chief of the central bank.
The change in leadership would take effect from 18 September, following the departure of Lowe, who has been at the bank for 43 years, culminating his tenure as the governor.
Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.