Asia Mixed on Weak Chinese Data

Asia Pacific markets traded mixed on Thursday after data showed growth in China's industrial output fell. Overnight, British lawmakers rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in place.

The Nikkei 225 average inched back 3.22 points to 21,287.02

The Japanese yen, considered a safe haven currency, traded at 111.56 to the U.S. dollar.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index regained 43.94 points, or 0.2%, to 28,851.39

Investors became optimistic when U.K. lawmakers rejected the idea of leaving the EU without a deal in place under any circumstance.

Initially Prime Minister Theresa May's government had asked Parliament to vote on ruling out a no-deal Brexit for the official Mar. 29 deadline.

The passing of the amended motion has severely undermined May's authority and could potentially lead to ministerial resignations, some analysts said.

The British pound traded around $1.3271 U.S. after previously surging around 2% against the greenback to $1.3339 following the U.K. parliament vote — it was the biggest move since April 2017.

Wednesday's vote to reject a no-deal Brexit "does not remove the risk of a disorderly Brexit on March 29," analysts wrote.

Other experts opined that Asia will "face serious contagion" effects of Brexit only in the unlikely event that the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal in place, which is known as a hard Brexit.

CHINA

The CSI 300 index dumped 25.7 points, or 0.7%, to 3,698.49

Data on Thursday showed China's industrial output growth fell to a 17-year low in the first two months of the year.

That further pointed to an economic slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. But investments picked up pace as the government fast-tracked more road and rail projects.

Beijing has already pledged hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts and infrastructure spending to support the flagging economy.

The on-shore yuan traded at 6.7134 to the U.S. dollar after the People's Bank of China set the day's yuan midpoint at 6.7009. China's central bank allows the currency exchange rate to rise or fall 2% from the midpoint rate.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index recovered 2.33 points, or 0.1%, to 3,197.92

Korea’s Kospi Index recouped 7.27 points, or 0.3%, to 2,155.68

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index lost 24.67 points, or 0.2%, to 10,348.65

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 rebounded 47.81 points, or 0.5%, to 9,435.50

In Australia, the ASX 200 re-strengthened 18.4 points, or 0.3%, to 6,179.59