HONG KONG – Asian markets were mixed on Friday after China posted lower-than-expected inflation, potentially giving policymakers more room to stimulate the world’s second-biggest economy after persistent weakness raised concerns over growth.
Tokyo stocks rose 0.50 percent as the dollar ended its recent downward spiral against the yen, but Sydney slipped 0.27 percent and Seoul was down 0.23 percent.
Hong Kong climbed 0.42 percent and Shanghai was up 0.44 percent after data showed that China’s annual inflation held steady at 2.7 percent in July, marginally below market expectations of 2.8 percent.
China has set its inflation target for 2013 at 3.5 percent, higher than last year’s actual rate of 2.6 percent, potentially giving the government more room to boost stimulus should the economic slowdown deepen.
China’s economy— seen as a potential driver of global recovery— recorded its worst performance in 13 years in 2012, with gross domestic product expanding 7.8 percent.
Also scheduled for release on Friday are China’s industrial output and retail sales numbers.
US stocks Thursday ended a three-day losing streak after trade data showed that Chinese imports and exports made an unexpected jump in July.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.18 percent to 15,498.32.
The dollar bought 96.74 yen in early Asian trade Friday against 96.64 yen in New York Thursday afternoon, finally finding support after the recent falls below 97.00 yen.
The euro was at 129.38 yen against 129.25 yen while trading at $1.3377 compared with $1.3380.
The euro was firm on Thursday after Germany reported a bounce in its trade surplus in June, a positive sign for the eurozone’s largest economy.
On oil markets, New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, rose 81 cents to $104.21 a barrel in morning Asian trade. Brent North Sea crude for September was up 39 cents at $107.07.
Gold was at $1,313.90 at 0240 GMT compared with $1,290.50 late Thursday.
In other markets:
— Singapore, Mumbai, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila were closed for a public holiday.