Asia markets trade mixed after Powell’s inflation comments; China inflation weaker than expected

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Asia markets trade mixed after Powell’s inflation comments; China inflation weaker than expected


Customers at a fresh food market in Shanghai, China, on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Wednesday, even as key Wall Street benchmarks rose following dovish comments overnight from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Powell signaled caution over leaving interest rates at too high a level, saying that “reducing policy restraint too late or too little could unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

Over in Asia, investors will assess inflation data from China and Japan, with China releasing its consumer and producer prices data for June.

Inflation in China narrowly missed expectations, with the consumer price index posting a 0.2% rise in June, softer than the 0.4% rise expected from economists polled by Reuters and down from 0.3% in May.

The country’s PPI fell 0.8% year on year, in line with expectations and a softer fall of 0.8% from May’s 1.4% decline.

Hong Kong Hang Seng index was up 1.01%, while the mainland Chinese CSI 300 was 0.4% down after the CPI announcement.

Separately, Reuters reported that China’s largest insurer, Ping An Insurance, is considering issuing convertible bonds worth up to $5 billion, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Japan’s corporate goods price index rose to 2.9% in June from a year earlier, in line with expectations and climbing at a faster pace compared to a revised 2.6% in May. The CGPI measures the price changes of goods traded within the corporate sector.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 extended gains from Tuesday, up marginally, but the broad-based Topix slid 0.21%.

South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.13%, while the small-cap Kosdaq was 0.2% lower.

On Wednesday, the National Samsung Electronics Union, the largest workers’ union of electronics giant Samsung Electronics called for an indefinite strike, following news that it was initially going on strike from Monday to Wednesday.

Shares of Samsung Electronics were down 0.22% after the announcement.

Separately, South Korean defense manufacturer Hanwha Aerospace announced a 1.38 trillion won ($1 billion) order from Romania to supply K9 howitzers to the country.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.18%.

Overnight in the U.S., the S&P 500 climbed to a fresh record Tuesday after Powell’s comments, gaining 0.07% to 5,576.98 and marking its 36th record close of the year.

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.14% to close at 18,429.29, also ending the day at a record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down 0.13%.

—Tech Zone Daily’s Brian Evans and Sarah Min contributed to this report.



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