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Asia report: Markets mixed amid quieter trading

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 15 May 2024

Asia report: Markets mixed amid quieter trading

(Sharecast News) - Asia-Pacific markets finished a relatively subdued Wednesday in a mixed state, following gains on Wall Street overnight despite concerns over robust inflation data stateside.

The Nasdaq Composite surged to a fresh record high overnight, despite hotter-than-anticipated producer inflation data.

"The dollar has come under fresh selling pressure on Wednesday, despite hotter-than-forecast PPI data yesterday and hawkish comments from Fed chair [Jerome] Powell," said James Harte at TickMill.

"April PPI was seen topping forecasts at 0.5% on both core and headline readings, up from -0.1% prior in both readings, above forecasts for 0.2% and 0.3% respectively."

Harte said the key now would be in seeing whether producers passed the rising costs onto consumers in Wednesday's US CPI release.

"The annualised figure is expected to cool slightly to 3.4% from 3.5% prior.

"However, on the back of yesterday's figures, there are clear upside risks for today's data."

Locally, China's central bank stood pat on a key interest rate during the session, while in Australia, all eyes were on the federal budget.

Markets mixed on quiet day for region

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 eked out a modest gain of 0.08%, closing at 38,385.73, while the broader Topix index dipped 0.03% to 2,730.88.

Notable performers on Tokyo's benchmark included Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, soaring by 13.57%, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust rising by 8.77%, and Sony Corporation climbing by 8.23%.

Mainland Chinese markets declined, with the Shanghai Composite slipping by 0.82% to 3,119.90 and the Shenzhen Component falling by 0.88% to 9,583.54.

China XD Electric faced a notable downturn of 8.5% in Shanghai, while Founder Securities saw a decline of 7.93%.

Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea remained closed for the Buddha's Birthday holiday.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index edged up by 0.35% to reach 7,753.70.

Noteworthy gainers in Sydney included IDP Education, rising by 7.05%, and Neuren Pharmaceuticals, which saw a rise of 5.64%.

Contrarily, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 experienced a downturn of 0.79%, closing at 11,525.88.

KMD Brands faced a decline of 5.38%, while Fletcher Building added to its recent losses by dipping a further 3.97%.

In currency markets, the dollar was last down 0.4% on the yen, trading at JPY 155.80, while it fell 0.26% and 0.35% against the Aussie and the Kiwi, respectively, changing hands at AUD 1.5051 and NZD 1.6495.

In the oil market, Brent crude futures were last up 0.11% on ICE at $82.47 per barrel, while the NYMEX quote for West Texas Intermediate increased 0.13% to $78.12.

China stands pat on one-year rate, Australia's federal budget revealed

In economic news, the People's Bank of China opted to maintain its one-year medium-term lending facility rate at 2.5%.

Australia's federal government meanwhile unveiled its annual budget, revealing measures aimed at alleviating the cost of living, bolstering housing construction, and enhancing the healthcare system.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers, in a joint statement with prime minister Anthony Albanese, emphasised the budget's balance in curbing inflationary pressures while providing relief and supporting sustainable economic growth.

The government forecast a surplus for 2023-2024, marking the first time the government delivered consecutive surpluses in almost 20 years.

In indonesia, official data revealed a notable uptick in exports for April, with a 1.72% increase from the prior year, reaching $19.62bn.

The rise signalled the first year-on-year growth since May 2023, according to LSEG.

However, April's figures fell short of expectations, missing Reuters estimates of a 4.57% increase and showing a 12.97% decline compared to March.

Imports also saw an increase, rising by 4.62% year-on-year to $16.06bn, but falling by 10.6% compared to the prior month.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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