Asian markets mixed as Chinese producer prices fall in August

Big 5

Asian markets traded mixed Tuesday afternoon as Chinese producer prices fell to their worst year-on year contraction in three years.

Mainland Chinese stocks slipped by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down 0.36 percent and Shenzhen component declining 0.64 percent. The Shenzhen composite shed 0.434 percent.

China’s producer price index — a key barometer of corporate profitability — fell 0.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Still, that was better than expectations of a 0.9 percent shrinkage year-on-year by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Its consumer price index rose 2.8 percent as compared to the previous year in August, above a 2.6 percent growth forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. Food prices soared 10 percent year-on-year in August, following a 9.1 percent surge in July.

In particular, pork prices in China skyrocketed 46.7 percent year-on-year in August amid a protracted outbreak of swine fever.

“Without the pork prices, actually the overall inflation should be still okay,” Tommy Xie, head of greater China research at Singapore’s OCBC Bank, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday. “But that may actually pose the risk … for the China CPI to break the government target of 3% in the last quarter of the year.”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was fractionally higher.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in J percent after the company’s CEO Hiroto Saikawa resigned, effective September 16, following an admission last week that he was improperly overpaid.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi also rose 0.41 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.76 percent.

In Malaysia, where stocks returned to trading on Tuesday after a holiday yesterday, telecommunications conglomerate Axiata Group saw its stock plunge more than 14 percent after the firm ended discussions with Norway’s Telenor to create a joint venture.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.28 percent lower.

Markets in India are closed on Tuesday for a holiday.

On the trade front, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday Washington and Beijing have a “conceptual” agreement on enforcement concerns. Trade negotiations between both countries are expected to continue in the coming weeks.

Iris Pang, greater China economist at ING, said no “material progress” was expected in the upcoming trade talks. “Both sides seem to be standing firm, and are unlikely to give concessions anytime soon.”

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.377 after weakening from levels above 98.4 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.39 per dollar after weakening from levels below 107.0 in the previous session. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6856 after rising from levels below $0.672 last week.

Meanwhile, oil prices continued rising in the afternoon of Asian trading hours following a more than 2 percent surge on Monday after Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, committed to crude output cuts to support prices.

International benchmark Brent crude futures gained 0.37 percent to $62.82 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.47 percent to $58.12 per barrel.

Source: CNBC