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China Exports Fall, Stocks Tumble

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed Friday after an inflation-fueled selloff in the previous session, with investor assessing economic data from Singapore and South Korea.

The Nikkei 225 Index regained 80.92 points, or 0.2%, to 39,523.55. The yen continued to weaken against the U.S. dollar, hitting as low as 153.29.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 373.34 points, or 2.2%, to 16,721.69.

Singapore’s first-quarter gross domestic product climbed 2.7% year on year, advance estimates showed, faster than the 2.2% growth recorded in the last quarter of 2023.

The city-state’s central bank held its monetary policy steady, leaving the width and level of its policy band unchanged. In contrast to other countries, Singapore uses exchange rate settings for its monetary policy, instead of a benchmark interest rate.

South Korea’s March unemployment rate rose to 2.8%. The country’s benchmark Kospi index slid 0.93% and ended at 2,681.82, but the small-cap KOSDAQ gained 0.28% and closed at 860.47 after South Korea’s central bank kept policy rates unchanged at 3.5%, a 15-year high.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 index retreated 28.4 points, or 0.8%, to 3,475.84.

The losses come as China’s exports for March fell more than expected, declining 7.5% compared to the 2.3% fall expected by economists polled by Reuters. This follows a weaker-than-expected rise in the country’s inflation on Thursday.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi dipped 25.14 points, or 0.9%, to 2,681.82.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index erased 10.7 points, or 0.3%, to 3,216.91.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index faltered 16.65 points, or 0.1%, to 20,736.57.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 withered three points to 11,931.32.

In Australia, the ASX 200 dipped 25.49 points, or 0.3%, to 7,788.08.