Asian equities opened lower, weighed by the disappointing Apple earnings report during the US session, however sentiment has been boosted by the Chinese HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI for January. The data climbed to 51.9 vs. Exp. 51.7 (Prev. 51.5), hitting a 2-year high. We heard comments from the chief China economist at HSBC, who said that despite the still tepid external demand, the domestic driven restocking process is likely to add steam to China's ongoing recovery in the coming month. As a proxy of China’s economy, Australian asset classes have benefited with the ASX 200 holding on to decent gains. Around 20 minutes after the release, the Shanghai Comp. reversed earlier losses and rose as much as 1% to the highest level since June.
Looking elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 swung between gains and losses amid the release of Japanese Merchandise Trade Balance Total, which was the second straight year of trade deficit. JPY weakness has been seen across the board during the break time in Japan, as a reminder, tomorrow’s Japanese CPI for December Y/Y will be of interest, considering the Bank of Japan’s 2.0% inflation target and the weakness of JPY during the period.
The calendar for the rest of the day remains on the light-side with a lack of macroeconomic data out of either mainland China or Japan although Hong Kong Trade Balance is due to be released at 0830GMT/0230CST.
As of 0259 GMT:
ASX200 (+0.45%), Nikkei 225 (+0.36%), Shanghai Comp. (+1.40%), Hang Seng (+0.10%), KOSPI (-0.06%)
23 Jan 2013 - 21:00 - Equities Data - Source: RANsquawk
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