China Inflation Misses Mark, Asia Mixed

Asia markets mostly slipped on Thursday following lower-than-expected Chinese inflation data while investors digested the conclusion of a three-day trade negotiation between the Beijing and Washington.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index retreated 263.26 points, or 1.3%, to 20,163.80. The Japanese yen, widely viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 107.85 against the U.S. dollar after seeing lows around 108.9 yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index added 59.11 points, or 0.2%, to 26,521.43, with shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent gaining 0.3%.

South Korea’s Kospi closed fractionally lower despite shares of chipmaker SK Hynix jumping 2.7%.Oil company SK Innovation’s stock rose 0.8% after its CEO announced that South Korea’s oil buyers are set to resume importing oil from Iran in late January or early February

In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 rose with the sectors mostly higher. The heavily-weighted financial subindex gained 0.2% as shares of Australia’s so-called Big Four banks advanced. Westpac was 0.4% higher, Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 0.2% National Australia Bank gained 0.1% and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group advanced 0.6%

The Australian dollar was at $0.7181 U.S. after gaining from the $0.714 handle in the previous session.

CHINA

Mainland Chinese markets, watched by investors in relation to the ongoing trade war, experienced a turbulent trading day that saw stocks close in negative territory.

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dropped 5.79 points, or 0.2%, to 3,072.69

The moves came after official Chinese inflation data for December, released at the same time as the market open, came in below expectations.

China’s December consumer inflation (CPI) — a gauge of prices for goods and services — rose 1.9% on year. That was lower than economists’ expectations of a 2.1% growth. Producer inflation rose 0.9% on-year in December, which was lower than the 1.6% economists were expecting.

The latest inflation figures came on the back of poorer-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data for December.

The latest round of trade negotiations in Beijing concluded on Wednesday after an unscheduled third day of talks. Officials from Washington said in a statement that they will report back to the White House for further guidance on the talks.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gained 25.44 points, or 0.8%, to 3,183.51

In Korea, the Kospi index docked 1.43 points, or 0.1%, to 2,046.71

In Taiwan, the Taiex index fell 17.62 points, or 0.2%, to 9,720.69

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 moved lower 28.06 points, or 0.3%, to 8,916.16

In Australia, the ASX 200 moved forward 16.98 points, or 0.3%, to 5,795.27