Asia shares lower on China inflation data

Search company or market
Search company or market:
Refresh this page Launch Marketwatch ticker
London | Wall Street | Asia

Shares in Asia were lower on Tuesday, reversing some earlier gains, despite better-than-expected inflation data out of China.

Official figures showed China's core inflation rate up by 1.4% in February. China's new consumer inflation target is about 3%, down from 3.5% in 2014.

The Hang Seng index closed down 0.9% at 23,896.98 after the data also raised deflation fears over factory prices.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite ended down 0.5% at 3,286.07.

The producer price index (PPI), which includes wholesale and factory price inflation, showed worsening deflation, declining 4.8% in February.

Elsewhere in Asia

The benchmark Nikkei 225 was closed down 0.67% at 18,665.11 points after earlier gains which had been driven by a weaker yen.

Banking shares were also hurt on news of a report that the Basel Committee could ask lenders to increase their capital in case of a rise in interest rates in US.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 also reversed earlier gains and closed flat, up just 0.05% at 5,824.20 points.

Analysts said investor confidence may have been hurt by a monthly survey of 400 firms that showed business confidence had dropped by three points to zero in February.

The survey is conducted by one of the nation's biggest lenders, National Australia Bank (NAB). The February reading was its lowest since late 2013.

The bank's chief economist Alan Oster said confidence had fallen "across all industries except manufacturing and wholesale, suggesting common factors such as political and broader economic uncertainty may be at play - perhaps the rate cut acted as a stark reminder of the significant headwinds facing the economy."

The Reserve Bank of Australia left rates at a record low of 2.25% earlier this month, after cutting them in February partly to help boost sentiment within the business community.

"We still see another rate cut in coming months - most likely May," Mr Oster said.

In South Korea, the Kospi index closed down 0.40% at 1,984.77points, after its sharpest daily fall in nearly two months on Monday.

New Zealand's currency fell to $0.72 against the US dollar, after police said threats had been made to poison infant milk formula made by the country's dairy producers.

Police said the threat was made in an apparent protest against the use of an agricultural pesticide called 1080, which is used to control some pests.

A trading halt was placed on shares of Fonterra, New Zealand's biggest dairy producer, among other smaller dairy firms.

Dairy is New Zealand's biggest contributor to the economy.

More on this story