Asia report: Stocks mixed ahead of key central bank events

by | Sep 18, 2023

(Sharecast News) – Asia-Pacific markets finished with a mixed performance on Monday, as investors focused on several impending central bank events.
The US Federal Reserve is poised to release its decision early on Thursday Asia time, while the Reserve Bank of Australia was gearing up to share the minutes of its 5 September policy meeting on Tuesday.

On Friday, the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy meeting was set to conclude with traders hoping for clarity on any changes to its ultra-easy monetary policy.

At the same time, the People’s Bank of China’s announcement on its loan prime rate decisions would come on the same day.

“Chinese stocks in Hong Kong started the week on a lower note, with ongoing concerns about the property sector overshadowing optimism stemming from signs of economic data stabilisation,” said SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes.

“Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings faced two significant tests on Monday, including an initial deadline to pay interest on dollar bonds and the end of creditor voting on its request to extend payment on a yuan-denominated note.”

Innes said that, despite the recent signs of growth and inflation bottoming out amid measures taken by Beijing to boost investor confidence, foreign funds had been talking with their feet, exiting Chinese stocks en masse.

“The Chinese market’s influence among global fund managers’ portfolios is reaching the un-investible zone due to the accelerating economic decoupling from the rest of the world.”

Stocks in a mixed state on day off for Japan

Japan’s markets remained closed on Monday for the ‘Respect for the Aged Day’ holiday.

China’s markets saw a positive trend, with the Shanghai Composite rising 0.26% to settle at 3,125.93, while the Shenzhen Component recorded a 0.55% gain, closing at 10,200.04.

Major gainers in Shanghai included Henan Huanghe Whirlwind Co, up 10.14%, Harbin VITI Electronics, ahead 10.1%, and Fujian Furi Electronics, 10.07% firmer.

Contrasting China’s positive momentum, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.39% to 17,930.55.

Significant laggards included Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), which declined by 4.42%, Zhongsheng Group, with a 4.16% dip, and China Resources Land, which fell by 3.9%.

South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.02% to 2,574.72, with critical players dragging the index down, including DB Insurance, down 3.3%, KakaoBank, losing 3.84%, and Samsung SDS, 3.35% weaker.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.67% lower at 7,230.40.

Among the significant losers in Sydney were Washington H Soul Pattinson, with a steep decline of 5.3%, followed by Genesis Minerals, down 4.88%, and GQG Partners, falling 4.26%.

A silver lining in the region’s performance was New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50, which saw a gain of 0.43% to close at 11,397.00.

Leading the gains in Wellington were Fonterra Shareholders Fund, up 4.1%, Restaurant Brands New Zealand, rising 3.68%, and Summerset Group, which closed 1.86% firmer.

The dollar was last down 0.09% in currency markets against the yen, trading at JPY 147.72.

The downunder dollars were in a mixed state, with the greenback last 0.01% stronger on the Aussie at AUD 1.5549, while it slipped 0.04% against the Kiwi to change hands at NZD 1.6946.

On the oil front, Brent crude futures inched 0.35% higher on ICE to $94.26 per barrel, and the NYMEX quote for West Texas Intermediate saw a 0.47% rise to $91.20.

Singapore’s domestic exports continue downward trend

On the economic front, in fresh data released on Monday, Singapore saw another decline in its non-oil domestic exports.

The dip amounted to 20.1% year-on-year, marking the 11th consecutive month of decreasing figures in the measure.

That decline surpassed the expectations of economists, who, according to a poll by Reuters, had anticipated a 15.8% slump.

However, the latest decrease was marginally less than July’s 20.3% drop.

Additionally, Singapore’s total trade experienced a downturn in August, plunging by 15.2% year-on-year, equating to SGD 100bn (£59.21bn).

That contraction followed the notably steeper 20.9% decrease in July.

A closer examination showed that both the import and export sectors witnessed declines, dropping by 15.6% and 14.7%, respectively, year-on-year.

Reporting by Josh White for

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