Japan leads gains in Asia as Chinas January inflation slows more than expected – CNBC

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific rose on Wednesday, as tensions appeared to ease between Russia and Ukraine, boosting markets. Meanwhile, investors reacted to weaker-than-expected Chinese inflation data.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.22% on the day to 27,460.40, leading gains among the region’s major markets, while the Topix index gained 1.67% to 1,946.63. South Korea’s Kospi also saw sizable gains, rising 1.99% to end its trading day at 2,729.68.

In mainland China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.57% to 3,465.83 while the Shenzhen component climbed 0.23% to 13,376.36. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced about 1.3%, as of its final hour of trading.

China’s consumer price index for January rose 0.9% as compared with a year ago, slightly lower than expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.0% increase.

Chinese producer inflation for January was also below expectations. The producer price index for January rose 9.1% as compared with a year earlier, against expectations in a Reuters poll for a 9.5% increase.

“I think the China data is extremely important. We would observe that last year … the inflation data in China going quite a bit higher was a very good leading indicator for inflation statistics around the world,” Eric Robertsen, global head of research at Standard Chartered Bank, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday.

“This easing of PPI and CPI statistics in China, you know, potentially offers a ray of light … for the global inflation situation,” Robertsen said.

Elsewhere in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.08% to close at 7,284.90.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 1.26%.

Russia’s government announced Tuesday that Moscow is starting to return some troops at the Ukrainian border, though NATO’s chief warned that the military alliance has so far “not seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground from the Russian side.”

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 422.67 points to 34,988.84 while the S&P 500 climbed 1.58% to 4.471.07. The Nasdaq Composite surged 2.53% to 14,139.76.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.966 — against an earlier high of 96.062.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.63 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 115.2 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7168, holding on to gains after bouncing from below $0.71 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.24% to $93.50 per barrel. U.S. crude futures climbed 0.31% to $92.36 per barrel.

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