Asian stocks dropped, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest decline in three weeks. Japanese shares fell for a second day as a stronger yen cut the earnings outlook for exporters while China’s export slump deepened in February.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.7 percent to 125.38 as of 4:07 p.m. in Hong Kong, reversing an early gain of 0.2 percent. The Topix index declined 1 percent in Tokyo, the biggest drop since Feb. 19, as the yen climbed against the dollar. Revised data showed Japan’s economy shrank an annualized 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the second contraction in three quarters.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index slipped 1.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index finished 0.1 percent higher, after slumping as much as 3.3 percent earlier. The nation’s exports tumbled 25.4 percent from a year earlier in dollar terms in February as imports fell for the 16th month in a row. The National People’s Congress continues in Beijing.
Asian stocks rose as Chinese equities extended their world-beating rally and better-than-expected export data and a weaker yen boosted Japanese shares.
China’s CSI 300 Index rallied above the 5,000 level for the first time in seven years amid speculation the government will accelerate measures to bolster the economy and cross-border sales of mutual funds will fuel equity inflows. Toyota Motor Corp. was the biggest boost to Japan’s Topix index as government figures showed vehicles were the largest contributor to April’s gain in exports.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2 percent to 153.70 as of 4:39 p.m. in Tokyo. The Shanghai Composite Index surged 3.4 percent. The Topix climbed as the value of Japan’s overseas shipments rose 8 percent from a year earlier, compared with the median estimate for a 6 percent increase. The yen slid on Friday on firming U.S. price data and comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that raising interest rates this year would be “appropriate.”
Source : Bloomberg