Beijing, China (BBN)- Asian equities finished in negative territory on Thursday after China’s inflation data painted a mixed picture.
China’s producer price index (PPI) jumped more than expected by 7.8 per cent in February from the previous year, the fastest pace since September 2008, reports CNBC.
In contrast, consumer prices slowed from a year ago, to 0.8 per cent, its slowest pace since January 2015.
The Shanghai composite closed down 0.74 per cent or 24 points at 3,216.58 and the Shenzhen composite fell 0.73 per cent or 14.7 points to finish at 2,009.55.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng plunged 1.18 per cent by 3:00 pm HK/SIN.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 finished up 0.34 per cent or 64.5 points at 19,318.58 as the weaker yen spurred buying.
The benchmark ASX 200 closed down 0.32 per cent or 18.5 points at 5,741.2.
The index was weighed heavily by a 1.13 per cent drop in its energy sub-index and a 2.62 per cent decline in its materials sub-index.
Crude benchmarks plunged more than 5 per cent during US hours on Wednesday after data showed that US crude inventories surged to a record high, up 8.2 million barrels last week compared with the consensus expectation for 2 million barrels.
But oil recovered during Asian hours, as US West Texas Intermediate crude steadied to climb 0.64 per cent to $50.60 a barrel, while global benchmark Brent crude rose 0.83 per cent to $53.55.
South Korea’s Kospi closed down 0.21 per cent or 4.3 points at 1,554.67.
The won had a volatile session, fetching as much as 1,157.7 earlier in the session, before heading to 1,156.05 against the dollar by 3:00pm HK/SIN.
Meanwhile, Samsung Group’s chief Jay Y. Lee will go on trial for bribery and embezzlement, amid a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.
Shares of Samsung Electronics was flat, Samsung C&T fell 0.83 per cent and Samsung Heavy shed 3.29 per cent.
Traders in the region will also watch for more geopolitical-related news out of east Asia, after Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Wednesday that the UN was re-evaluating how it must deal with North Korea after it’s repeated missile tests and that “all options are on the table.”
Over in the US, major indexes closed mostly lower amid plunging oil prices and data which showed private sector employment added 298,000 jobs last month, according to ADP and Moody’s, well above a Reuters poll estimate of 190,000.
“Bumper US ADP payrolls re-energizes the dollar and sends UST 10-year yields ever-closer to the key 2.60 per cent level,” said Nizam Idris, Gareth Berry, and Teresa Lam, strategists at Macquarie Bank in a Thursday note.
“If Friday’s nonfarm payrolls convey a similar message about labour market strength, Fed may signal 4 hikes for 2017 in their new dot plot.”
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.33 per cent, or 69.03 points at 20,855.73, the S&P 500 dropped 0.23 per cent or 5.41 points to close at 2,362.98 and the Nasdaq composite rose just 0.06 per cent or 3.62 points to end at 5,837.55.
On Wednesday, China unexpectedly posted its first trade deficit in three years last month, as a construction boom pushed imports up 38.1 per cent in dollar-denominated terms as exports fell 1.3 per cent.
The upbeat data reinforced that China’s economic activity picked up in the first two months in 2017 and contributed to a global manufacturing revival, Reuters reported.
The dollar index was trading at 102.20 during Asian time, above the levels around 101 for the past four sessions.
The stronger dollar led the yen to weaken to 114.54 by 1:40pm HK/SIN and the Australian dollar slipped to $0.7509.