Asia stocks mixed as Chinese inflation at 18-month low

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HONG KONG: Asian stocks were mixed Friday after weak Chinese inflation data raised concerns about the risk of deflation in the world’s second-largest economy but also opened the door to possible stimulus measures from Beijing.

Tokyo closed up 0.59 percent, or 35.81 points to 14,199.59, as bargain-hunting reversed opening losses triggered by a strong yen.

Sydney slipped 0.29 percent, or 16.0 points, to end at 5,460.8, while bargain-hunting saw Seoul close up 0.31 percent, 5.95 points, at 1,956.55.

Hong Kong rose 0.12 percent, or 25.87 points, to 21,862.99 while Shanghai slipped 0.20 percent, or 4.13 points, to 2,011.14.


Chinese annual inflation fell sharply to 1.8 percent in April, the lowest reading since October 2012 and well below the 3.5 percent annual target set by Beijing.

“The CPI figure, which was an 18-month low, showed weakness in the domestic economy,” Zheshang Securities analyst Zhang Yanbing told Agence France-Presse.

The data is likely to add to worries that deflation could be looming as Chinese growth slows.

Moderate inflation can be a boon to consumption as it encourages consumers to buy before prices go up, but falling prices encourage consumers to put off spending and companies to delay investment, both of which act as brakes on growth.

AFP

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