Asian markets mixed after China, Japan data

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 11:33am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 11:37am


Asian markets were mixed Monday as another round of healthy Chinese data was offset by figures showing Japan’s economy shrinking, while fears over the US “fiscal cliff” also hurt sentiment.

The euro edged up slightly after Greek lawmakers said they had approved a 2013 budget that would secure the latest batch of bailout cash that will help it avoid bankruptcy.

Tokyo fell 0.49 per cent, Sydney lost 0.10 percent and Seoul eased 0.34 per cent, while Hong Kong added 0.10 per cent and Shanghai gained 0.23 per cent.

Recent indications that the Chinese economy is emerging from a drawn-out slumber were reinforced Saturday when figures showed exports rose 11.6 per cent year-on-year in October, following a near 10 per cent jump in September.

The numbers, which were released as the Communist Party holds its 18th Congress and prepares for a once-a-decade leadership transition, came a day after officials said industrial output surged last month, while government asset investment also saw a healthy rise.

Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the growth slowdown, which has impacted the global economy, had been ”effectively curbed”.

However, while the world’s number two economy continues to show signs of a resurgence Japan on Monday said gross domestic product had shrunk 0.9 per cent in the July-September period from the previous three months.

It comes after Japan posted its worst September trade figures for 30 years as exports slumped, with analysts blaming the continued strength of the yen, a territorial spat with Beijing and the debilitating debt crisis in Europe.

In early forex trade the euro bought US$1.2722, compared with US$1.2709 yen in New York late Friday. It also edged up to 101.10 yen from 100.99 yen.

The dollar was trading at 79.48 yen against 79.47 yen.

The euro was given a little support from the news out of Athens that the parliament had passed a 2013 budget full of swingeing cuts deemed necessary to meet creditors’ demands for its next round of rescue money.

The vote passed with a comfortable majority of 167 deputies in favour from the 300-seat chamber but markets are still edgy until a decision is finally made by Greece’s lenders on whether to release the much-needed money.

Eyes are also on the United States, where rival politicians must reach a deal to avoid a fiscal cliff of deep spending cuts and huge tax hikes which would come into force on January 1 and which observers say would tip the country back into recession.

The package was put together after a protracted but possibly reckless compromise was reached last year -- with the expectation a less painful plan could be agreed -- to raise the country’s borrowing cap.

Oil prices fell, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, dipping five cents to US$86.05 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for December delivery shedding 34 US cents to US$109.08.

Gold was at US$1,733.30 by 0220 GMT compared with US$1,730.30 late Friday.