Asian Shares Decline On Weak China Data

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Tuesday as Chinese trade data disappointed and investors awaited key U.S. inflation numbers due later in the week for clues on the Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates.

The U.S. reports on consumer and producer price inflation will be released on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, while the Bank of England’s interest-rate decision is scheduled for Thursday.

The dollar crept higher and Treasury yields remained elevated after a Federal Reserve survey showed credit conditions for U.S. business and households continued tightening in the first months of the year.

Gold prices held steady, while oil prices fell after rallying more than 2 percent on Monday on the back of better-than-expected U.S. jobs data and signs of supply disruptions in Canada.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped 1.1 percent to 3,357.67 as fresh data showed Chinese imports contracted sharply in April and exports grew at a slower pace, reinforcing signs of feeble domestic demand.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 2.1 percent to 19,867.58, weighed down by losses in the tech sector.

Japanese shares rallied as investors reacted to upbeat earnings news from top companies. The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 1.0 percent to 29,242.82, while the broader Topix closed 1.3 percent higher at 2,097.55.

Steelmaker JFE Holdings soared 14.5 percent after it forecast higher profits. Rivals Nippon Steel and Kobe Steel rose over 5 percent each.

Shipper Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha surged 9.3 percent after posting strong quarterly numbers and raising its dividend forecast.

Investors shrugged off government data showing Japanese household spending fell 1.9 percent in March from a year earlier.

Seoul stocks ended off their day’s lows, with the Kospi closing 0.1 percent lower at 2,510.06 ahead of key U.S. inflation data and earnings results from major firms like Duke Energy and Walt Disney Co. due this week.

Tech and airline stocks fell, while Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering shares jumped 4.5 percent.

Australian markets slipped into the red, with miners underperforming on disappointing retail sales data and ahead of the country’s annual budget.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,264.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 0.2 percent at 7,456.70.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia ended slightly higher despite the country’s biggest home lender warning of an inevitable increase in loan arrears.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index dropped 0.4 percent to 11,889.61.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as investors fretted about a possible U.S. debt default and looked ahead to the release of key inflation numbers due later in the week for directional cues.

The Dow eased 0.2 percent as an early rally in regional banks faded. The S&P 500 inched up marginally and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.2 percent.

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