Asian stocks rise with Fed in focus, Chinese disinflation woes weigh

© Reuters.– Most Asian stocks rose on Monday, albeit marginally, as investors hunkered down before a string of key central bank meetings this week, while Chinese shares plummeted on continued signs of disinflation in the country.   

Regional markets took positive cues from Wall Street, after U.S. stock indexes rose on Friday following stronger-than-expected . The reading pointed to some resilience in the world’s largest economy, although it also saw traders pricing fewer chances of early interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.  

were flat on Monday. 

Japan’s was the best performer among its peers, up 1.6% as it recovered from steep losses seen last week. Hawkish signals from the Bank of Japan had battered local stocks, although the prospect of relatively loose monetary conditions in Japan still kept investors bullish on local stocks. 

Broader Asian markets were a touch higher, although concerns over China and caution before a this week kept gains limited. While the central bank is widely expected to keep rates on hold, its outlook for 2024, particularly on when it plans to begin trimming rates, will be closely watched.

Australia’s rose 0.2%, while South Korea’s added 0.1%.  Beyond the Fed, interest rate decisions from the , and are also on tap. 

Chinese stocks plumb over 4-year lows as disinflation persists

China’s blue chip index sank 1.3% to its weakest level since early-2019, while the and Hong Kong’s also logged similar declines.

Data released over the weekend showed that Chinese fell at its fastest pace in three years in November, while sank for a 14th consecutive month.

The readings showed that Chinese spending was not picking up despite continued liquidity measures from Beijing- a trend that bodes poorly for Asia’s biggest economy. China was now in disinflation for two consecutive months, heralding little pick-up in economic activity in the coming months. 

The inflation data also came on the heels of several mixed economic readings for November, and drew increasing calls from investors for more stimulus measures from Beijing. 

Chinese stocks were the worst performing bourses in Asia this year, amid persistent negativity over the economy. 

Indian stocks set to retreat from record highs 

Futures for India’s index pointed to a marginally weak open on Monday, with investors set to lock in more profits after the index hit a series of record highs last week.

Recent gains in Indian stocks saw them cross the $4 trillion mark in overall valuation, and were driven chiefly by optimism over the world’s fastest-growing major economy. 

A key crucial state election victory for the ruling BJP party, which sets it up for a strong 2024 general election performance, also ramped up optimism over Indian markets. 

Focus this week is now on key , after the Reserve Bank warned of a potential pick-up in inflation through November.


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