China shipping
Chinese exports fell sharply in July Reuters

Most Asian markets began the week higher despite disappointing trade and factory price figures released by China over the weekend.

Beijing's National Bureau of Statistics said exports from the world's second largest economy slumped 8.3% year-on-year in July, falling well short of analyst expectations for a 1.5% drop.

Imports dived 8.1%, while the country's trade surplus shrank to $43bn (£27.8bn, €39.2bn) from $53.3bn in June.

Separately, the agency said China's inflation rate quickened to 1.6% in July from 1.4% in the previous month, but producer prices dived 5.4%.

The disappointing data weighed on regional markets, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropping 0.3% to 24,477.62 points at mid-day on 10 August.

Investors were also pricing in the prospect of an interest rate rise from the Federal Reserve as early as next month after the US Labor Department released a solid jobs report for July on 7 August.

"Share markets are likely to remain volatile in the next few months," AMP Capital Investors global strategist Shane OIiver told Bloomberg.

"Uncertainties remain regarding Chinese economic growth and a likely Fed interest rate hike lies ahead for later this year," Oliver added.

Mainland shares advance

Shares in mainland China rose sharply after the country's securities watchdog called on brokers and fund managers to help stabilise the equity market.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite jumped 3.9% to 3,888.94.

In Japan, the Nikkei benchmark index rebounded from early losses to climb 0.3% to 20,794.05 points after data showed the country had posted a 12th straight month of current account surplus in June.

The balance of payments – the widest measure of a country's trade – logged a surplus of ¥558.6bn (£2.9bn, €4.1bn, $4.5bn), shy of expectations for a positive balance of ¥785.9bn.

Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 started the week in positive territory after shedding 3.9% last week due to losses in the mining and banking sectors.

The benchmark index was up by 0.5% at 5,502.80 points.

In Seoul, the Kospi fell 0.3% to 2,003.52.