• Asia shares mostly up, China inflation at 4-month high

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    HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly higher on Tuesday following fresh records on Wall Street, while Shanghai and Hong Kong headed higher after data showed Chinese inflation surged in May.

    Tokyo fell 0.85 percent, or 129.20 points, to finish at 14,994.80 owing to a weaker yen, but Seoul surged 1.09 percent, or 21.76 points, to 2,011.80 and Sydney edged up 0.1 percent, or 5.67 points, to close at 5469.7.

    Shanghai surged 1.08 percent, or 22.03 points, to 2,052.53 and in the afternoon Hong Kong jumped 0.73 percent.

    Global markets have been on an uptrend in recent weeks as dealers cheer a string of impressive data, including a healthy US jobs report, stronger Japanese economic growth and a marked improvement in Chinese manufacturing and trade.

    The results, as well as fresh merger and acquisition activity, sent Wall Street surging. The Dow rose 0.11 percent to its third straight record close, while the S&P 500 inched up 0.09 percent, hitting an all-time high for the fourth straight session. The Nasdaq added 0.34 percent.

    Hong Kong and Shanghai jumped as dealers welcomed figures showing Chinese inflation came in at 2.5 percent in May, in line with expectations.

    The figure is also much stronger than the 1.8 percent recorded the month before, and is the highest since January, alleviating fears earlier in the year that the country will slip into deflation.

    However, it is still well below the government’s target of 3.5 percent for 2014, and will not be enough to quell calls for the government to introduce easing measures to boost the economy.

    Adding to buying sentiment was the announcement Monday by the People’s Bank of China of a cut in the amount of cash certain, smaller lenders must keep with the central bank—the reserve requirement ratio—as part of a limited stimulus to boost spending.

    However, it signalled no significant policy loosening is in the pipeline, despite some calls for more forceful relaxation.

    BOC International analyst Zhang Yuheng told Dow Jones Newswires: “The economy would have to deteriorate further in order to warrant a cut impacting all banks.”

    In foreign exchange trade, the dollar dipped to 102.31 yen in Tokyo Tuesday from 102.53 yen late in New York.

    The euro eased to $1.3585 from $1.3592, while it was also at 139 yen against 139.35 yen.

    Oil prices went up in Asia. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for July gained 39 cents to $104.80 a barrel in afternoon trade after jumping $1.75 in New York on Monday. Brent North Sea crude was up 14 cents to $110.13 for its July contract after leaping $1.38 on Monday.

    Gold fetched $1,255.42 an ounce at 7:15 a.m. local time compared with $1,255.94 on Monday.

    AFP

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