Asian Stocks Edges Lower on Downbeat Reports

Stocks in the Asian region were seen trading lower on Monday, as a string of Japanese economic reports, including Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP) figures and current account data; came in lower than expected.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 index slid 1.01% lower at 15,120.14 points on Monday, while Tokyo’s broader Topix gauge lost 0.76% to 1,227.61 points.

Stocks – Japan Reports

The Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a slower pace than initially reported, rising by 0.2% in the fourth quarter, weaker than the 0.3% reported by the Cabinet Office in February. Domestic demand climbed by 0.7%, while investment rose by 1.5%. Exports rose by 0.4%, while imports surged 3.5% over the quarter.

A separate report released revealed the gap in Japan’s current account deficit reaching 1.59 trillion yen in January, climbing some 350% over the year and 176% from 638 billion yen in the previous month, according to data from the Ministry of Finance on Monday.

Stocks – China Trade Balance

Over the weekend, China’s trade data came in disappointing and raising concerns about the country’s economic growth as China’s trade balance revealed a deficit of $23.0 billion in the previous month. As exports dropped 18% year-on-year, compared to analysts forecast of an 11% growth. As for the country’s imports, imports growth picked up slightly higher than expected, standing at 10.1% year-on-year.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) lowered the rate of the Yuan to the lowest officially fixed exchange rate of the Yuan since December 3. Inflation in China came in at 2.0% in February, weaker than analysts’ estimates of 2.2%.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index was dragged lower by the reports, dropping 1.85% lower to 22,240.21 points at the time of writing, while the mainland China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite declined 2.86% to close at 1,999.06.

 

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