China stocks lead gains in mixed Asia trading as Alibaba shares rebound

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Friday trade as Chinese inflation data for May came in largely in line with expectations. Investors also looked ahead to the release of U.S. inflation data later stateside.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index traded 0.17% higher, with shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent climbing 0.71%.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba turned around, last trading more than 3% higher after falling nearly 4% earlier. That was in contrast to U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba, which dropped 8.13% on Thursday after Jack Ma’s Ant Group and Chinese regulators squashed talk of reviving Ant’s public listing.

“I expect the [Chinese] government will roll out more stimulus in the next few months, including interest rate cut.”
Zhang Zhiwei
chief economist, Pinpoint Asset Management

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite gained around 0.6% while the Shenzhen component jumped 1.014%.

Chinese producer inflation in May rose in line with expectations, official data showed Friday. The Chinese producer price index for May jumped 6.4% as compared with a year earlier, according to data by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That matched expectations in a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, Chinese consumer inflation in May also saw an increase that was close to expectations. The consumer price index climbed 2.1% from a year ago, just below the forecast in a Reuters poll for a 2.2% increase.

“As [producer price index] inflation is already on a downward trend, inflation is unlikely to be a constraint for further policy easing,” Zhang Zhiwei, president and chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, wrote in a Friday note following the data release.

“I expect the government will roll out more stimulus in the next few months, including interest rate cut,” Zhang said.

The rise in Chinese stocks came despite authorities implementing Covid testing in multiple districts of the major Chinese city of Shanghai, just days after a city-wide lockdown was lifted on June 1.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 1.41% as shares of SoftBank Group dropped 2.56%. South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.21%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia dipped 0.8%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.6% lower.

The U.S. is also set to announce its May consumer price index report later Friday stateside.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 slipped 2.38% to 4,017.82. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 638.11 points, or 1.94%, to 32,272.79. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.75% to 11,754.23.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 103.193 after recently crossing the 103 level.

The Japanese yen traded at 134.08 per dollar, struggling to recover after weakening from levels below 132 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7103 following a recent drop from above $0.714.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.48% to $122.48 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.47% to $120.94 per barrel.

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