Asia report: Most markets lower on mixed bag of China data
Most markets in Asia finished in the red on Thursday, with investors turning their eyes to China as its mixed bag of inflation data showed a disparity between producer and consumer prices.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 did manage a green finish, adding 0.34% to 19,318.58, with a weaker yen boosting volumes.
The yen was last 0.24% weaker against the greenback at JPY 114.62 per $1.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was off 0.74% at 3,216.58, while the Shenzhen Composite lost 0.73% to 2,009.55.
China’s producer price index rose 7.8% year-on-year in February, more than anticipated, and the largest rise in the reading since September 2008.
Consumer prices, on the other hand, slowed to their lowest increase since January 2015, at 0.8% year-on-year.
In South Korea, the Kospi was down 0.21% at 1,554.67, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was off 1.18% at 23,501.56.
The political corruption scandal was still top of the headlines in Seoul, as it was confirmed Samsung Group chief Jay Lee would go to trial on charges of embezzlement and bribery.
He had been taken in for questioning on multiple occasions by special prosecutors investigating the cash-for-influence scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye.
Of the Samsung Group components, Samsung C&T was down 0.83%, Samsung Electronics finished flat, and Samsung Heavy lost 3.29%.
Oil prices were sharply lower overnight on Wednesday, after fresh data showed US crude inventories rocketing ahead to a record high, adding 8.2 million barrels last week, compared to expectation for a 2 million barrel rise.
They did recover somewhat during early Asian trading, but soon fell away again, with Brent crude last down 1.34% at $52.41 and West Texas Intermediate losing 1.58% at $49.50.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.32% to 5,741.20, dragged down by the energy and materials subindexes, which lost 1.13% and 2.62% respectively.
In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 fell 0.5% to 7,140.99, with local retail giant Warehouse Group losing 2.7% after it reported a 76% drop in first-half earnings.
The down under dollars were both weaker, with the Aussie last off 0.33% against the greenback at AUD 1.3328, and the Kiwi weakening 0.26% to NZD 1.4501 per $1.