Asia report: Most markets rise even as China export data disappoints
Most markets in Asia finished higher on Monday, as investors digested the latest export data from China, which showed the fourth month in a row of declines.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.33% at 23,430.70, as the yen strengthened 0.1% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 108.47.
All of the major components on the benchmark were in the green, with Fanuc up 1.11%, Fast Retailing ahead 0.59%, and SoftBank Group rising 1.2%.
The broader Topix index was 0.51% firmer by the end of trading in Tokyo, finishing its session at 1,722.07.
Official data released during the day showed the Japanese economy as expanding by 1.8% year-on-year for the quarter through September - a much better result than the consensus expectations for 0.2% growth.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite managed gains of 0.08% to close at 2,914.48, and the technology-focussed Shenzhen Composite eked out a rise of 0.01% to 1,640.51.
In fresh data out of Beijing, China’s exports fell 1.1% year-on-year in November - a disappointing result compared to the 1% rise analysts polled by Reuters had anticipated.
At the same time, imports were ahead 0.3% year-on-year for the month, which was better than the 1.8% decline predicted by analysts.
The fall in exports came as investors continued to hold their breath over the likelihood of a first phase trade deal between Beijing and Washington, ahead of a 15 December deadline imposed by the White House for fresh punitive tariffs to be slapped on Chinese goods.
Last week was marred by conflicting messages as to the likelihood of such an agreement being reached, from both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
“This US-China trade saga will remain in focus this week as the Trump administration is still scheduled to slap tariffs on more than $150bn worth of Chinese imports on 15 December, unless something changes between now and then,” siad CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.33% to 2,088.65, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong went against the regional trend, slipping 0.01% to 26,494.73.
Protestors in Hong Kong reached the six month milestone of their pro-democracy demonstrations, as they continued to take to the streets in defiance of the city’s government.
Both of the blue-chip technology stocks were higher in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics up 1.59% and chipmaker SK Hynix managing gains of 0.12%.
Oil prices were lower at the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude last down 1.13% at $63.37 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate falling 1.06% to $58.58.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.34% to 6,730.00, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 went against the grain, falling 0.4% to close at 11,229.59.
The Wellington bourse saw one of its major components, specialist dairy exporter A2 Milk, plunge 7.7% during the session before closing 3.6% below the waterline, as chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka resigned after almost 18 months at the held.
Hrdlicka cited the excessive travel required by the job as being behind her surprise resignation, with the company’s former boss - Geoffrey Babidge - set to step in as acting chief executive until a replacement is found.
Both of the down under dollars were weaker on the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.25% at AUD 1.4653, and the Kiwi retreating 0.15% to NZD 1.5250.