Most Asian stock market indices were trading lower on Thursday (13 October) amid poor China trade data. The volatile Shanghai Composite declined sharply in early trade but managed to gain during the later part of the day. It was trading higher by 0.10% at 3,061.66 as of 6.07am GMT.
Chinese data showed that both its exports and imports declined in September. While the former slipped 10% year-on-year in dollar terms, imports had fallen 1.9%, raising concerns among investors over the health of the world's second largest economy.
An unnamed currency trader at an Asian bank in Hong Kong was cited by Reuters as commenting: "The China data has exacerbated the broad cautious mood and we should see more gains for the yen and other safe-haven assets."
A few analysts even opined that the poor performance raises concerns that China may pursue a weaker currency policy in the coming months. At a time when there is slowdown in the growth of corporate earnings, this could add to deflationary pressures in the rest of continent, they added.
Economists at London-based research consultancy Capital Economics explained: "The continued underwhelming performance of Chinese exports adds weight to our view that the People's Bank will maintain its recent policy of gradual trade-weighted renminbi depreciation in coming quarters."
Indices in the region were trading as follows at 6.29am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||23,067.23||Down||1.45%|
Overnight (12 October), the FTSE 100 closed 0.66% lower at 7,024.01, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher by 0.09% at 18,144.20.
Among commodities, oil prices declined after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) said overnight that its total production hit an eight-year high in September. While WTI crude oil was trading lower by 0.72% at $49.82 (£40.92) a barrel, Brent crude was trading 0.64% lower at $51.48 a barrel as of 6.37am GMT.