Asia Inches Higher on China Export Figures

Asia stocks edged higher on Monday as China’s exports declined in November for the fourth consecutive month, according to the country’s customs data.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 76.3 points, or 0.3%, to 23,430, as shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group gained more than 1%

Japan’s economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.8% in the July to September quarter, according to revised data from the country’s Cabinet Office on Monday. That was sharply higher than the initial estimate of a 0.2% expansion.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.59 per U.S. dollar after strengthening from lows beyond 109.6 in the previous week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index deleted 3.64 points to 26,494.73, with protests in the city crossing a six-month milestone.

Demonstrators have been locked in a stalemate with the city’s embattled local government since early June.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6833 after rising from levels below $0.678 last week.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 slid 6.94 points, or 0.2%, to 3,895.45

China’s overseas shipments dropped 1.1% year-on-year in November, below the 1.0% expansion expected by analysts in a Reuters poll. Imports, on the other hand, rose 0.3% as compared to a year earlier — exceeding projections for a 1.8% decline.

The latest print on Chinese trade comes as Beijing remains embroiled in a trade war with Washington. Both parties aim to reach a "phase-one" trade deal that has remained elusive ahead of a closely-watched date of Dec. 15, when additional tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. are set to kick in.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex gained 51.13 points, or 0.4%, to 11,660.77

In Korea, the Kospi added 6.8 points, or 0.3%, to 2,088.65

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 14.89 points, or 0.5%, to 3,179.82

In New Zealand, the NZX fell 46.61 points, or 0.4%, to 11,229.59

In Australia, the ASX 200 acquired 23.01 points, or 0.3%, to 6,730.03