Asian shares rebound on upbeat China data
HONG KONG—Asian markets mostly bounced back Thursday after sharp declines in the previous session, as China posted upbeat trade figures that bolstered the outlook for the world’s second-biggest economy.
But Tokyo dropped 1.59 percent, or 219.38 points, to 13,605.56, after a 4.0 percent plunge on Wednesday triggered partly by renewed concerns over a potential tapering of the US stimulus program.
The losses came as the yen gained ground against the dollar after the Bank of Japan issued an upbeat assessment of Tokyo’s efforts to counter growth-sapping deflation, as it left its vast monetary easing programme unchanged.
Shanghai ended flat, edging down 1.88 points to 2,044.90, as China’s imports and exports both showed an unexpected jump in July.
Bigger-than-expected gains in imports outpaced those of exports, causing the overall trade surplus to fall 29.6 percent year on year to $17.8 billion.
In other markets Sydney gained 1.07 percent, or 53.5 points, to 5,064.8, Seoul added 0.3 percent, or 5.64 points, to 1,883.97 and Hong Kong climbed 0.31 percent, or 67.04 points, to 21,655.88.
US shares dropped Wednesday for the third straight session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 0.31 percent, or 48.07 points, to 15,470.67.
The broad-based S&P 500 gave up 0.38 percent, or 6.46 points, to 1,690.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.32 percent, or 11.76 points, to 3,654.01.
Comments from Federal Reserve officials earlier this week sparked jitters over a likely pullback of the US stimulus, weighing down global markets.
The chiefs of the Federal Reserve’s Chicago and Atlanta branches both said that the central bank could begin tapering its $85 billion a month quantitative easing program in September, but stressed that economic growth needed to hold steady or improve.
On currency markets the greenback slipped to 96.28 yen in Asian afternoon trade from 96.39 yen in New York Wednesday. The euro also lost its morning gains to sit at 128.45 yen from 128.55 yen in US trading.
Against the dollar, the European single currency strengthened in afternoon deals to $1.3341 from $1.3334 in New York.
In oil markets New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, rose 44 cents to $104.81 a barrel in afternoon Asian trade. Brent North Sea crude for September was up 27 cents at $107.71.
Gold was at $1,290.50 at 1045 GMT compared with $1,277.43 late Wednesday.
In other markets:
– Bangkok rose 1.20 percent, or 17.17 points, to 1,447.16.
Coal producer Banpu slipped 0.43 percent to 229 baht, while Bangkok Bank closed unchanged at 201 baht.
– Manila lost 0.26 percent, or 16.56 points, to 6,404.23.
SM Investments was down 2.30 percent at 826.50 pesos, Ayala Land dropped 0.17 percent to 29 pesos, while Universal Robina Corp. shed 2.17 percent to 117 pesos.
– Mumbai climbed 0.67 percent, or 124.46 points, to 18,789.34.
Drug firm Ranbaxy Laboratories jumped 27.49 percent to 359.4 rupees while private aluminium producer Hindalco rose 5.42 percent to 91.35 rupees.
– Taipei slipped 0.17 percent, or 13.62 points, to 7,907.67.
Acer fell 3.97 percent to Tw$20.55 while Hon Hai was 0.13 percent lower at Tw$77.0.
– Wellington fell 0.15 percent, or 6.92 points, to 4,541.38.
Chorus was down 3.3 percent at NZ$2.93, Air New Zealand slipped 0.70 percent to NZ$1.41 and Fletcher Building rose 0.48 percent to NZ$8.41.
– Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore were closed for a public holiday.—Anuj Chopra