HONG KONG: Tokyo led Asia stocks higher on Monday, tracking a strong lead from Wall Street where markets surged in the wake of strong US jobs data.
China was also up despite figures from Customs showing that imports and exports both slumped in July in dollar terms – the latest poor figures from the world’s second-largest economy.
Both US and European equities got a lift after Washington reported a big gain in jobs in July and upgraded employment estimates for the prior two months, boosting the odds of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike this year.
The report lifted the dollar against the yen – a positive for Japanese exporters as a weaker currency inflates the value of their overseas profits.
Oil was also up slightly in Asia after slumping into a so-called bear market last week, losing 20 percent from recent June peaks above $50, and closing below $40 a barrel for the first time since April.
“The US economy has returned to its job creating best, judging from the non-farm payrolls data released on Friday night. In response to the strength in employment, US shares hit all-time highs, industrial commodities rallied, and gold and bonds fell,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets said in a commentary.
“The data feast continues this week as China releases trade, retail sales and industrial production numbers, bringing commodity prices into focus.”
The US Labor Department said the world’s top economy added 255,000 jobs in July, easily topping analyst forecasts for an increase of 185,000.
The figures helped markets shrug off some lackluster US data of late, including a report a week ago that estimated second-quarter growth at just 1.2 percent.
The broad-based S&P 500 and the tech-rich Nasdaq ended at all-time highs while the London stock market rose 0.8 percent to above 6,800 for the first time in 14 months.
Asia stocks followed suit, with Tokyo rising almost 2 percent while Hong Kong jumped 1.3 percent, Sydney added 0.7 percent and Singapore put on 1.3 percent.
Seoul, Taipei and Jakarta were also higher.
China exports, imports slump
Chinese stocks were up 0.3 percent as Customs released the July trade data.
Measured in US dollars, China’s imports fell to $132.4 billion, a drop significantly larger than the 7.0 percent median forecast in a survey of economists by Bloomberg News.
Exports also fell in dollar terms, dropping 4.4 percent to $184.7 billion and also below expectations of a 3.5 percent decline.
As the world’s biggest trader in goods, China is crucial to the global economy and its performance affects partners from Australia to Zambia, which have been battered by its slowing growth – while it faces headwinds itself in key developed markets.
China’s Customs administration releases trade figures in the country’s own yuan currency first, before later issuing a US dollar figure—which more clearly illustrates its impact on the rest of the world.
In yuan terms, exports rose 2.90 percent year-on-year to 1.22 trillion yuan, with imports falling 5.70 percent to 873 billion yuan.
In forex markets, the greenback rose to 102.01 yen in Asia trade from 101.79 yen in New York and 101.08 yen earlier Friday.