Shares in China rise on trade data

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Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 06 Apr 2018, 06:45 GMT Nikkei 225 one month chart
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shanghai share trading Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The benchmark Shanghai Composite index crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time since 2008 on Friday

Shares in China were higher on Monday as weaker-than-expected trade data from the mainland raised hopes among investors that Beijing may introduce further stimulus measures soon.

The Shanghai Composite benchmark ended 2.2% higher at 4,121.71.

The index crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time since 2008 on Friday.

China's monthly trade data showed its exports fell in March from a year ago by 14.6% in yuan terms, compared with forecasts for a rise of more than 8%.

Imports fell 12.3% in yuan terms compared with forecasts for a fall of more than 11%.

The official numbers mean the country's monthly trade surplus has shrunk to its smallest in 13 months.

Analysts said the export numbers for March were a surprise.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 2.7% at 28,016.34 to hit a fresh seven-year high as the market continued to benefit from large inflows of money from mainland Chinese investors through the new stock connect trading link.

Last month, Beijing allowed mutual funds to invest in Hong Kong through the connect plan.

Iron ore falls

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed flat, down just 0.01% at 19,905.46 points.

On Friday, the index traded above 20,000 for the first time since April 2000 and it is up nearly 15% this year.

Australian shares were in positive territory early on Monday but lost gains later with the S&P/ASX 200 closing down 0.14% at 5,960.30.

Commodity prices were weighing on shares of some mining companies as iron prices remain depressed.

Australia has said it expects the plunging price of iron ore to slash revenue forecasts by A$25bn (£13bn; $19bn) over the next four years.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey told the Australian Financial Review that the price for iron ore, Australia's biggest export, could fall as low as $35 a tonne.

Atlas Iron shares remained suspended. The company said on Friday that it would stop all mining in Australia because iron ore prices were below its breakeven level.

"Despite an extensive cost-cutting programme... the global supply-demand imbalance for iron ore has driven prices down to the point where it is no longer viable for Atlas to continue production," the firm said.

In South Korea, the Kospi share index closed up 0.5% at 2,098.92.

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