Tokyo, Japan (BBN)-Asian markets headed lower on Friday despite a slew of economic data from the world’s third largest economy, Japan, showing signs of a recovery.
Japan’s core inflation picked up for the first time in 10 months in March, giving relief to the central bank which has been trying to beat deflation, reports BBC.
Core inflation, which excludes fresh food prices, rose 2.2% in March from a year ago, marking the first increase since May 2014.
The Nikkei was down 0.4% to 19,442.29.
Other data showed that the country’s unemployment rate fell to 3.4% in March from 3.5% in February and beat market expectations of a 3.5% rise.
Household spending also came in above forecasts, falling 10.6% in March from a year earlier, compared to estimates of a 12.1% decline.
But, manufacturing data showed that factory activity contracted in April for the first time in almost a year as domestic orders and output fell.
The Markit/JMMA final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 49.9 in April, compared with a preliminary reading of 49.7 and 50.3 in March.
The index fell below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the first time since May last year.
Japan emerged from a recession in the fourth quarter of last year, but grew at a slower than expected pace.
Trading in the rest of Asian markets was thinner than usual with Hong Kong, Shanghai and South Korean markets closed for Labour Day holidays.
Investors seemed to ignore manufacturing data from China that showed factory activity in the Asian giant steadied in April.
The official PMI was at 50.1 in April, the same level as in March and above expectations of a reading of 50.
Factory activity had contracted in the first two months of the year.
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 traded flat 0.2% at 5,793.6 despite data showing home prices across Australia’s capital cities rose further in April.
Figures from property consultant CoreLogic RP Data showed prices climbed 0.8% in April from 1.4% in March.