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Asian stocks drift higher with China trade, inflation in focus

Published 06/24/2024, 10:55 PM
© Reuters.

Investing.com-- Asian stocks rose on Tuesday, recovering a measure of recent losses as investors awaited more cues on a potential trade war between China and the West, while upcoming inflation prints were also in focus.

Chinese markets stabilized after three days of steep losses as Chinese and European ministers opened dialogue over import tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles. But sentiment towards the country still remained fragile.

Regional markets took middling cues from Wall Street, which ended largely lower on losses in heavyweight chipmaking stocks. U.S. futures traded sideways in Asian trade.

Focus this week was largely on upcoming PCE price index data, which is the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, and is likely to factor into the outlook for U.S. interest rates. 

Anticipation of the inflation print kept broader Asian markets subdued, while weakness in technology shares also limited overall gains. 

Chinese markets steady, trade tensions in focus 

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes rose 0.1% each, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged nearly 1%. All three indexes had logged steep losses in recent sessions, after Chinese officials warned of a trade war with the EU over new import duties on Chinese EVs.

Chinese ministers were seen engaging in dialogue with German officials over potentially reducing or even lifting the tariffs, which are set to be imposed from July. 

But Canada was seen considering curbs on Chinese EV imports, Canada joining the U.S. and the EU. Such a move could further sour already strained relations between China and the West. 

Concerns over China have been a key weight on sentiment towards Asia in recent sessions, especially if the country escalates trade tensions with other major economies.

Sentiment towards China was also dented by a Reuters report, which said that the Biden Administration was investigating major Chinese telecom firms over potential security concerns.

More inflation cues awaited

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.5%, although losses in heavyweight tech stocks kept the index trading largely rangebound. 

But the broader TOPIX index surged 1.4%, boosted by a rebound in economically sensitive stocks.

Focus this week was on upcoming consumer price index inflation data from Tokyo, which is due this Friday. The reading comes after the minutes of the Bank of Japan’s latest meeting showed some members speculating over an interest rate hike in July.

Weakness in the yen, which could attract government intervention, also kept sentiment towards Japan on edge.

Among other Asian markets, Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.9%, boosted by mining stocks on stronger commodity prices. Focus was also on an upcoming CPI indicator from the country, due on Wednesday.

A private survey showed Australian consumer sentiment improved slightly in June. 

South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.4%, with bigger gains being held back by losses in technology stocks.

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a flat open, as the index continued to face resistance near recent record highs. 


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