Asia markets rise as investors digest China inflation data

Major Asian indexes climbed on Monday as investors digested the release of China inflation data.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed for a ninth straight day, with investors looking to extend gains after the benchmark index touched a fresh 21-year high in the last session. The index was up 0.64 percent.

Ahead, politics will be in focus for Japanese markets as the country gears up for lower house election at the end of the week.

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi gained 0.1 percent as steelmakers notched gains: Posco jumped 6 percent and Hyundai Steel was up 2.75 percent. Tech stocks were mixed, with SK Hynix falling 2.79 percent, but LG Electronics climbing 1.36 percent.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.54 percent, with the materials sub-index rising 1.6 percent and leading gains. Major miners surged: Rio Tinto was up 3.05 percent, Fortescue Metals climbed 1.74 percent and BHP jumped 2.28 percent.

Elsewhere, China is likely to be in the spotlight this week as the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party China kicks off on on Oct. 18.

Mainland markets were mixed: The Shanghai Composite edged up 0.12 percent and the Shenzhen Composite slid 0.242 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, meanwhile, soared 0.89 percent as property plays mostly climbed.

Investors in the region also digested inflation data out of the world’s second-largest economy: China’s consumer price index rose 1.6 percent in September from a year ago, meeting expectations. The producer price index rose 6.9 percent in the same period — well above the 6.3 percent forecast in a Reuters poll.

U.S. September consumer prices released Friday were softer than expected. Still, although the headline 0.5 percent increase was below the 0.6 percent predicted in a Reuters poll, the rise in prices was the largest monthly increase in eight months.

Despite the weaker-than-expected number, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appeared positive on the inflation outlook in the months ahead in a Sunday speech, Reuters said. Yellen indicated that inflation was likely to improve despite the unexpectedly low levels seen this year.

“[W]hile the Fed may well get one more hike in December, if goods inflation fails to show up next year, there might not be too many more in a hurry,” Joanne Masters, senior economist at ANZ, said in a note.

The dollar recouped losses after initially sliding following the lackluster data release. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, stood at 93.181 by 10:06 a.m. HK/SIN, above a low of 92.749 seen on Friday. Against the Japanese currency, the dollar edged up to fetch 112.05 yen.

Meanwhile, stocks on Wall Street touched record levels on Friday as earnings season rolled on. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.13 percent, or 30.71 points, to close at 22,871.72.

In individual stocks, SoftBank Group was up 1.76 percent. The spike in share price came after news that T-Mobile and SoftBank-controlled Sprint intended to announce a merger, according to Reuters. That followed a report from Nikkei Asian Review during the weekend that Softbank had “reached a broad agreement” about the deal.

Over in South Korea, Samsung Electronics gained 0.04 percent after announcing Friday it was expecting record profit for the third quarter. Other tech stocks in the market were mixed: LG Electronics rose 1.36 percent, LG Display added 1.21 percent and Samsung SDI fell 5.32 percent.

Oil built on Friday’s gains following news that Iraqi forces had captured parts of Kirkuk, a Kurdish-controlled oil-rich province, Reuters said, citing local media. The Iran nuclear deal was also in focus after President Donald Trump’s decision not to certify that Tehran was in compliance with obligations that were part of the agreement.

Global benchmark Brent crude spiked 1.14 percent to trade at $ 57.82 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate advanced 0.84 percent to $ 51.88.

Here’s the economic calendar for today (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 12:00 p.m.: Indonesia September balance of trade
  • 12:30 p.m.: Japan August industrial production

— CNBC’s Huileng Tan contributed to this report.

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