Asian News: Asian markets mostly rose yesterday, boosted by positive inflation data from China

Asian markets mostly rose yesterday, boosted by positive inflation data from China, but Tokyo’s winning streak ended on profit-taking as the yen edged up after hitting multi-year lows.

A delivery clerk cycles past an electronic board showing market indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo yesterday. Japanese stocks touched near five-year highs yesterday as effects of the Bank of Japan’s aggressive reflationary campaign reverberated through markets.

Tokyo ended flat, edging down 0.24 points to 13,192.35 following an almost 10% rally since Wednesday fuelled by the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) stimulus measures.

But Sydney added 1.45% or 71.3 points to 4,976.8, while Seoul was 0.11% higher, adding 2.05 points to 1,920.74.

Shanghai was 0.64% higher, adding 14.19 points to 2,225.78, while Hong Kong added 0.7%, or 152.29 points, to 21,870.34.

Beijing unveiled data yesterday showing inflation at 2.1% in March, well down from the 10-month-high 3.2% seen the month before and below forecasts for 2.4%.

The news eased investor concerns that another high figure would prompt authorities to tighten monetary policy further.

“Markets were overly worried when headline CPI inflation jumped to 3.2% in February, so today’s reading will definitely help alleviate the inflation and monetary-tightening concerns,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Lu Ting said in a note, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Chinese shares have suffered in recent months on concerns about the world’s number-two economy, while the recent spike in inflation fuelled expectations the government would tighten monetary policy.

Inflation is a key issue for the ruling Communist Party as it brings with it the risk of popular discontent and the threat of social unrest.

Japanese shares dipped after a four-day run that saw the Nikkei put on almost 1,200 points thanks to the tumbling yen which helps exporters. However, the Nikkei is still sitting at highs not seen since August 2008. Tokyo investors have gone on a buying spree since the BoJ last week unveiled a huge stimulus package aimed at reversing decades of deflation.

The yen has lost almost 8% since the bank announced its shift in monetary policy that will see a flood of cash hit financial markets.

Oil prices rose, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, adding 24¢ to $93.60 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for May up 43¢ to $105.09.

Gold was at $1,571.97 an ounce at 1045 GMT compared with $1,577.10 late on Monday.

In other markets, Singapore climbed 0.36%, or 11.96 points, to 3,296.57; Taipei ended 0.31% lower, shedding 24.25 points to 7,728.54; Wellington was flat, edging down 2points to 4,395.21; Jakarta closed flat, edging up 0.04% or 2.07 points to 4,899.59; Kuala Lumpur added 0.14%, or 2.28 points, to 1,690.27; Bangkok lost 1.26% or 18.81 points to 1,470.72.

Source: Caye Global News, Gulf Times/AFP Tokyo

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