Asia report: Stocks mixed as investors watch for inflation data

by | Sep 25, 2023

(Sharecast News) – Markets in the Asia-Pacific region displayed a mixed performance on Monday, as investors remained watchful for inflation data expected to emerge from various economies.
Singapore announced fresh inflation data on Monday, while Australia was scheduled to its statistics for August this week.

Meanwhile, Japan was gearing up to publicise its inflation figures for the Tokyo region, considered a precursor to broader nationwide economic patterns.

“Asian equity markets traded with a mixed tone, mostly leaning towards the negative side due to a lack of significant catalysts over the weekend and concerns about Chinese developers,” said TickMill market analyst Patrick Munnelly.

“The Nikkei 225 outperformed, driven by hopes of stimulus measures in Japan.

“The government is considering offering tax benefits to firms producing semiconductors and storage batteries, as well as providing support in high-entry-risk areas for private-sector companies.”

Munnelly said Tokyo was also planning to boost take-home pay for part-time workers.

“In contrast, the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite faced pressure due to concerns related to Chinese developers.

“Evergrande shares plummeted by more than 20% after cancelling a creditor meeting and scrapping its $35bn debt restructuring plan.

“The company cited an investigation into its subsidiary Hengda Real Estate as the reason for being unable to issue new debt.”

Patrick Munnelly also noted that China Aoyuan shares dropped over 70% on resuming trade after a 17-month hiatus.

Japan manages gains in mixed day for equities

Japan’s stock markets managed a positive day, with the Nikkei 225 growing 0.85% to 32,678.62 and the Topix index also gaining a modest 0.39%, closing at 2,385.50.

Individual company performances on Tokyo’s benchmark were led by Daiichi Sankyo, which saw its stock rise by a notable 7.56%, followed by Dainippon Screen Manufacturing and Advantest, which grew by 4.89% and 3.87%, respectively.

Conversely, Chinese markets exhibited a slight downward trend, as the Shanghai Composite declined by 0.54%, settling at 3,115.61, while the Shenzhen Component dipped by 0.57% to stand at 10,120.62.

Among the losers in Shanghai, Hangzhou Jiebai Group and Guangdong Marubi Biotechnology experienced significant drops of 7.62% and 6.84% respectively.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also decreased by 1.82% to 17,729.29.

Longfor Properties, Galaxy Entertainment Group, and Sands China recorded losses of 6.47%, 5.36%, and 5.16%, respectively.

South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.49%, ending the day at 2,495.76, as POSCO Future M and POSCO Holdings registered declines of 6.82% and 5.27%, respectively.

In contrast, Australia and New Zealand markets showed a slight uptrend.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index increased by 0.11% to 7,076.50, with Paladin Energy and Boss Energy marking gains of 6.09% and 5.11%, respectively.

Similarly, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 index closed slightly higher by 0.04% at 11,377.12, as KMD Brands and Serko saw increases of 3.61% and 2.41% in Wellington.

On the currency front, the dollar was last 0.17% stronger on the yen, trading at JPY 148.62.

The greenback was meanwhile ahead 0.25% on the Aussie at AUD 1.5564, while it managed gains of 0.04% on the Kiwi to change hands at NZD 1.6784.

In the oil sector, Brent crude futures were last up 0.09% on ICE at $93.35, while the NYMEX quote for West Texas Intermediate marginally rose by 0.01% to $90.04.

Singapore’s core inflation rate sees slowest rise since April

In economic news, Singapore reported a 3.4% increase in its core consumer price index in August compared to the prior year.

It marked the most modest climb since April 2022, when the figure stood at 3.3%, with August’s data highlighting the nation’s fourth consecutive month of a decelerating core inflation rate.

The figure was also slightly below the 3.5% projection of economists polled by Reuters.

At the same time, the city-state’s headline inflation rate tapered off to 4%.

That aligned with market predictions and made for the lowest rate since January last year.

Reporting by Josh White for

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