HONG KONG: A further slowdown in Chinese inflation compounded worries about the world’s number-two economy Tuesday, adding to selling pressure in Asian markets and extending a global retreat as talk of a December US interest rate hike increases.
The below-forecast reading on China’s consumer price index — the weakest since May — comes days after Beijing data showed a sharp fall in imports and exports, and is the latest in a string of reports pointing to a growth slowdown in the country.
Officials said prices rose 1.3 percent last month, down from 1.6 percent year-on-year in September. Also, the producer price index, a measure of factory gate prices, fell 5.9 percent — matching the previous two months and marking a six-year low.
The news will add to pressure on Beijing as it struggles to transform the nation’s growth model to a more stable one driven by domestic consumption and away from decades of export reliance and state investment.
It also brought an end to a five-day rally in Shanghai, which had been boosted Monday by news that authorities will resume initial public offerings this month after a four-month hiatus caused by the summer stock rout.
The market ended 0.2 percent down—although it pared early hefty losses—and Hong Kong dropped 1.3 percent in late trade. Sydney, where several firms that rely on Chinese trade are listed, closed 0.4 percent lower.
However, there was some respite for emerging market currencies, which edged up slightly after being hammered Monday by last week’s better-than-expected US jobs data that ramped up expectations of a Fed rate rise next month.
Traders are betting the US central bank tightens monetary policy despite broad weakness across the global economy, particularly China — a crucial driver of world growth.
“In what is now a regular event, global markets sunk overnight and are pricing in the worst of the US and China,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets, said in an email to clients.
“According to this view, China continues to weaken toward implosion, but not far or fast enough to head off a lift in US rates,” he said, according to Bloomberg News.
On currency markets the dollar dipped against most emerging currencies, including the Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah and South Korean won —each of which suffered most on Monday.
Asia’s retreat followed big losses on Wall Street, where the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 each fell 1 percent, while there were heavier losses in Frankfurt and Paris.
In Mumbai shares in India’s largest carrier IndiGo soared almost 18 percent on their debut, with confident traders betting on the country’s growing appetite for air travel.
In early trade InterGlobe Aviation, IndiGo’s parent company, touched 898.00 rupees ($13.54) —up 17.38 percent from their 765 rupee listing price on the Bombay Stock Exchange—before tapering to 887.40 rupees by noon.
IndiGo’s initial public offering last month was India’s biggest in three years and raised almost $460 million for the budget carrier, with shares sold at between 700 rupees ($11) and 765 rupees each.