Asian markets mostly rise
Market watch top headlines
HONG KONG, Aug 9 AFP
August 09 2012, 9:34PM
Asian markets have mostly risen with data showing China's output slowed and inflation hit a two-and-a-half-year low, lifting hopes for fresh easing measures to boost the world's number two economy.
However, weak European data has dented recent optimism, while Wall Street and European traders have provided an anaemic lead after a three-day rally on central bank stimulus hopes lost momentum.
Hong Kong climbed by 1.02 per cent, or 203.95 points, on Thursday, to 20,269.47 while Shanghai added 0.61 per cent, or 13.11 points, to 2174.10.
Tokyo climbed by 1.10 per cent, or 97.44 points, to 8978.60 and Seoul gained 1.96 per cent, or 37.36 points, to 1940.59 but Sydney eased by 0.10 per cent, or 4.3 points, to 4308.3.
China said on Thursday that its consumer price index rose by 1.8 per cent year on year in July, in line with forecasts but down from 2.2 per cent in June and its slowest pace since January 2010.
The figures indicate that Beijing - which has cut interest rates twice this year and lowered the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve - has more room to loosen monetary policy to kickstart the slowing economy.
Later the National Bureau of Statistics said the country's factories, workshops and mines saw a slowdown in output in July.
Industrial production grew by 9.2 per cent year on year last month compared with an increase of 9.5 per cent in June.
Separately, retail sales, the main gauge of consumer spending, also slowed, rising by 13.1 per cent in July compared with the same month last year.
European and US markets, which along with Asia have been rising this week on expectations of fresh sovereign bond-buying by the European Central Bank and other stimulus from the US Federal Reserve, took a breather on Wednesday following poor economic news.
In Europe the Bank of England lowered its forecast for growth in the economy of non-euro-member Britain to near zero this year, while the central bank of eurozone heavyweight France warned that the country was likely to enter recession.
And in Germany, the eurozone's economic anchor, exports fell by 1.5 per cent in June, while imports - a barometer of domestic demand - fell by 2.9 per cent. Adding to dealers' fears factory orders fell by a bigger-than-expected 1.7 per cent in June and industrial output declined by 0.9 per cent.
Standard & Poor's also cut Greece's debt rating outlook to negative, saying a worsening economy and political challenges could force another downgrade as the country nervously awaits the release of a new tranche of rescue money.
On Wall Street the Dow and S&P 500 closed with marginal gains, while the Nasdaq eased by 0.15 per cent.
In Hong Kong Standard Chartered bank ended 4.27 per cent higher after its chief executive hit back at US claims it had hidden $US250 billion in transactions with Iranian banks, breaking Washington sanctions.
The lender had slumped by more than 15 per cent in the previous two sessions following the allegations.
Its CEO Peter Sands on Wednesday said of the claims: "There are a lot of matters that we don't recognise, we don't understand and are factually inaccurate."
On currency markets the euro bought $US1.2336 ($A1.17) and Y96.80 in late afternoon trade, compared with $US1.2363 and Y96.99 in New York late on Wednesday.
Oil prices were higher. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, fell 29 cents to $US93.16 a barrel in the late afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for September fell 31 cents to $US112.25 111.83.
Gold was at $US1613.25 at 1100 GMT, from $US1607.80 on Wednesday.
In other markets:
- Taipei rose by 1.56 per cent, or 113.9 points, to 7433.70.
Smartphone maker HTC rose by 3.81 per cent to $Tw245.0 while TSMC was 2.24 per cent higher at $Tw82.3.
- Manila eased 0.98 per cent, or 52.06 points, to 5256.61.
Ayala Corp. slipped 1.71 per cent to 425 pesos while its real estate flagship, Ayala Land dropped by 5.03 per cent to 22.65 pesos.
- Wellington ended flat, edging up 1.82 points to 3583.61.
Telecom gained 0.2 per cent to $NZ2.665, Fletcher Building rose by 0.8 per cent to $NZ6.48 and Contact Energy was off four per cent at $NZ4.80.
- Jakarta rose by 0.99 per cent, or 40.46 points, to 4131.17.
Telkom rose by 1.7 per cent to 9,200 rupiah, cigarette maker Gudang Garam gained 1.2 per cent to 51,250 rupiah, while Aneka Tambang fell by 0.80 per cent to 1240 rupiah.
- Kuala Lumpur stocks rose by 0.40 per cent, or 6.60 points, to close at 1642.52.
Financial group CIMB Group Holdings rose by 0.76 per cent to 7.91 ringgit, while Malayan Banking gained 0.90 per cent to 8.95. Utility Tenaga Nasional lost 0.43 per cent to 6.94 ringgit.
- Bangkok rose by 0.29 per cent, or 3.57 points, to 1217.70.
Banpu dropped 0.44 per cent to 454.00 baht while Thai Oil Public Co rose by 3.02 per cent to 68.25 baht.
- Mumbai fell 0.23 per cent, or 39.69 points, to 17,560.87.
Top mobile phone firm Bharti Airtel slid 6.4 per cent to 256.85 rupees.
- Singapore was closed for a public holiday.