Asia stocks, dollar rise on China inflation data relief
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks and the dollar bounced on Friday, erasing some losses from the previous day, as stronger-than-expected Chinese inflation data eased some concerns about the health of the world’s second-biggest economy.
Spreadbetters forecast a slightly higher open for Britain’s FTSE, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC following a bounce in oil prices.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 percent after dropping 1.1 percent on Thursday, when weak Chinese export numbers hit global equities, stopped a rise in U.S. yields and halted the dollar’s advance.
The index was headed for a loss of 2.1 percent on the week.
Chinese data again set the tone on Friday, with September producer prices unexpectedly rising for the first time in nearly five years, while consumer inflation also beat expectations.
The producer price increase will be good news for profits and for Beijing as the government struggles to reduce a mountain of corporate debt.
South Korea’s Kospi added 0.6 percent and Australian stocks were flat. Shanghai dipped 0.5 percent while the Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei added 0.5 percent. It looked set to end the week flat as investors braced for upcoming earnings reports, notably those of financials.
“Until new catalysts emerge, investors will likely monitor both U.S. earnings and Japan Inc’s earnings,” said Kazuhiro Takahashi, an equity strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.
The dollar index rose 0.3 percent to 97.774. It had climbed to a seven-week high against a basket of other major currencies earlier in the week on growing expectations of a December interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.
The greenback, which slid Thursday to 103.340 yen on the Chinese trade data, gained 0.4 percent to 104.110 yen, edging back towards a 2-1/2-month peak of 104.635. It was on track to gain 1 percent on the week.
The euro slipped 0.3 percent to $1.1027 after seeing a 2-1/2-month low of $1.0985 on Thursday. The common currency was en route for a 1.5 percent weekly loss.
Investors will have another chance to gauge whether the world’s biggest economy is ready for tighter monetary policy through U.S. indicators due later, including September retail sales and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment report.
The markets will also tune into speeches by Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren for hints about the timing of the next interest rate hike.
Elsewhere in currencies, the pound dipped 0.4 percent to $1.2204. It was on track to lose 1.8 percent this week.
Sterling kept well above the 31-year trough below $1.1500 struck last Friday during its flash crash as some fears of a “hard Brexit” ebbed, but it remained under pressure as Britain’s separation from the European Union is strewn with obstacles.
The Singapore dollar hit a seven-month low after the economy unexpectedly contracted in the third quarter, keeping alive easing prospects even though the central bank stood pat on policy earlier in the day.
Thailand’s stocks rose 4 percent and the baht gained about 1 percent versus the dollar after the government urged the country to remain calm after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“On the assumption that the succession goes smoothly, I would assume that foreign investor inflows will continue,” said Andrew Bresler, director at Saxo Capital Markets based in Singapore.
Crude oil extended gains after bouncing overnight on a U.S. government report showing hefty draws in diesel and gasoline.
Brent crude was up 0.3 percent at $52.19 a barrel, having risen to a one-year peak of $53.73 on Monday on expectations for an OPEC output cut.
(Additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)