HONG KONG: Asian stocks rose on Tuesday as fresh Chinese data provided signs of improving conditions for the world’s second largest economy.
China’s producer prices fell in July at their slowest rate in nearly two years, fuelling hopes the end of a painful slowdown could be in sight for the Asian powerhouse which is a key driver of the global economy.
Shanghai advanced 0.7 percent after the producer price index, which measures the cost of goods at the factory gate, fell 1.7 percent year-on-year in July.
The figure was better than expectations of a 2.0 decline in a Bloomberg News poll of economists and much less than the 2.6 percent fall in June.
Protracted declines in the Producer Price Index bode ill for industrial prospects as customers seek to delay purchases in anticipation of lower prices in future, starving companies of business and funds.
Elsewhere traders were generally cautious after US markets retreated from record highs.
Sydney added 0.3 percent by the close and Seoul ended 0.6 percent higher. Hong Kong was down 0.1 percent in late afternoon trading.
Tokyo closed up 0.7 percent on a weaker yen and as energy stocks got a lift.
The dollar was at 102.45 yen, unchanged from Monday in New York but well up from levels below 101 seen last week.
Japanese exporters benefit from a weaker yen as it inflates the value of their overseas profits.
Energy stocks rose after OPEC said it would hold an informal meeting in Algeria next month – hinting it could take action to stabilize the crude market.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Monday that a meeting would take place on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algeria from September 26 to 28, ahead of a planned meeting at the end of November.
Oil prices have been fluctuating since entering a “bear” market last week, when they fell more than 20 percent and closed below $40 a barrel for the first time since April.
Prices rebounded overnight but retreated in Asian trade.
West Texas Intermediate was down 46 cents at $42.56 while Brent lost 53 cents to $44.86.
Hong Kong-listed CNOOC and PetroChina were among those that recorded gains. In Tokyo energy exporter Index added 3.2 percent and refiner JX Holdings added 1.6 percent.
In Sydney, Rio Tinto ticked up 1.6 percent, while Santos and Oil Search were also higher.
In early European trade, London, Frankfurt and Paris all increased 0.2 percent.