Asian markets slip but China lifts Hong Kong, Shanghai
Asian markets mostly fell today following a recent run of gains but Hong Kong and Shanghai traders cheered data showing Chinese imports rose in August for the first time in almost two years.
Hong Kong: Asian markets mostly fell today following a recent run of gains but Hong Kong and Shanghai traders cheered data showing Chinese imports rose in August for the first time in almost two years.
Regional shares have enjoyed a strong run since the start of the month, fuelled by optimism about the state of the US economy and the prospects of borrowing costs being kept at ultra-low levels until at least December.
But the rally petered out today as investors put their foot on the brake.
Tokyo was down 0.8 per cent in the afternoon but the standout performer was Nintendo, which soared on news it had developed an exclusive Super Mario game for Apple.
Sydney lost one per cent and Seoul shed 0.2 per cent. Singapore, Wellington and Bangkok also suffered sharp losses.
"Volatility, or the lack there of, is still the key driver in financial markets," Chris Weston, chief markets strategist in Melbourne at IG Ltd, said in an email, according to Bloomberg News.
"The Fed are not going to raise rates this year if they truly are data dependent and if they hike in December it would be an admittance that they are more dictated by a calendar- based guidance."
But Hong Kong was up 0.4 per cent by the break while Shanghai pared almost all its early losses to end the morning flat following the Chinese figures.
China's customs department said August imports rose 1.5 per cent on-year, the first increase in 22 months, while exports fell less than expected thanks to weakness in the country's yuan currency.
The figures marked a sharp turnaround from July and will raise hopes the world's number two economy and key driver of global growth is stabilising after years of slowing growth. The economy grew last year at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century.
In Tokyo gaming giant Nintendo soared 18 per cent at one point after it announced with Apple that "Super Mario Run" would be available on the App Store this year. It ended the morning up 13.2 per cent.
The news came after the global success of mobile game Pokemon Go, based other Nintendo characters, which has now been downloaded about half a billion times.
However, Japanese investors were left unimpressed by figures showing the economy grew just 0.7 per cent on an annualised basis in April-June, well down from the 2.1 per cent seen in the previous three months.