Asian markets traded lower on Wednesday, October 14, as investors digested disappointing economic data from China.
Chinese inflation figures came in weaker than expected, and came a day after trade figures showed a steep fall in imports.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index closed down 1.8% at 17,907.39.
China’s main index Shanghai Composite edged up 0.2% to 3,299.51, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index was down 0.61% at 22,460.16.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.56% to 5,173.80, while South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index dropped 0.55% to 2,007.72.
The latest official data from China – the world’s second largest economy – showed consumer inflation slowed to 1.6% in September from 2% in August. Wholesale inflation was 5.9%, unchanged from the month before.
The wholesale numbers were in line with expectations, but consumer inflation was expected to rise 1.8%. China’s target for consumer inflation is about 3%.
Economic data released on October 13 showed that imports in September fell by a more-than-expected 17.7% in yuan-denominated terms, while exports fell 1.1% from a year earlier.
As it continues to face a slowdown in economic growth, China is trying to move away from an export-led economy towards one led by consumer demand.
The sharp fall in imports posted on October 13 raised concerns around the world that domestic demand in China is weakening.
Japan’s stock market closes up almost 8% on September 9 in its biggest one-day jump since late 2008.
Nikkei 225 index closed up 7.71% at 18,770.51 points.
On September 8, the benchmark index saw all the gains it had made this year wiped out.
Remarks by newly re-elected PM Shinzo Abe suggesting company tax cuts were on the way helped the mood.
Also positive were September 8 rebound for US shares and an improving Chinese share market.
Investor sentiment was up across the rest of Asia.
Tuesday’s weak economic data from China has also raised hopes of more stimulus for that economy and its markets.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index finished up 4.1% at 22,131.31 – marking its biggest one-day percentage gain in almost four years.
China’s government said on September 9 that it would strengthen fiscal policy, boost infrastructure spending and speed up reform of its tax system to support the economy.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite closed up 2.3% at 3,243.09 – moving into positive territory for the year.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed up 2.07% at 5,221.10, taking its lead from US markets.
Analysts said resource and commodity shares, together with some of the big bank stocks, had buoyed the Australian index.
Numbers out on September 9 showed consumer confidence slid in September which led to revived hopes of another rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
South Korea’s Kospi benchmark index also closed up 2.96% at 1,934.20 points. Official data released on September 9 showed the country’s latest unemployment figures for August sitting at their lowest since January this year.