Asia stocks fall as weak China data weigh © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man is reflected on an electric stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan April 18, 2023. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Kane Wu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asia stocks hit a 11-week low on Wednesday as renewed concerns about U.S. interest rates slugged Wall Street, while investors still smarted from dismal Chinese economic data and the absence of meaningful stimulus.

MSCI’s gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan was down 1.1% at 0138GMT, touching its lowest point since June 1.

Japan’s slipped 1.3% to its lowest since July 12. Australia’s fell nearly 1.5%.

China reported weaker than expected July activity data Tuesday, accompanied by news that Beijing would no longer publish youth unemployment data.

The PBOC also unexpectedly lowered its policy rate on Tuesday, earlier than many investors had expected and possibly probably triggered by the string of disappointing data on loans and credit, the housing market and trust industry as well as the threat of deflation.

“Investors sentiment toward China is pretty bad,” said Redmond Wong, Greater China market strategist at Saxo Markets.

Wong said he was most concerned about month-to-month decline of China’s retail sales and weak infrastructure investments, which suggested lack of funding from local governments.

China’s industrial output and retail sales growth both slowed from a month earlier to a year-on-year pace of 3.7% and 2.5% respectively, missing expectations.

and China’s benchmark CSI300 Index opened 1.21 and 0.43% lower respectively.

“We think the Chinese Central bank is not going hard enough on reducing interest rates, encouraging the banks to lend more and stimulate very flat consumer activity,” said John Milroy, an investment adviser at Ord Minnett.

The world’s second largest economy is due to report new home price data for July on Wedneday.

Last month, prices fell by a very marginal 0.06%. If the decline begins to accelerate, it will feed back on weaker consumer confidence and weigh on already feeble retail sales growth.

All three major U.S. equity indexes ended Tuesday lower, after a stronger-than-expected report on U.S. retail sales data. The fell 1.02%. The dropped 1.16% and the shed 1.14% in value.

The data increased the odds for the Fed to keep rates at high levels for longer and offered strength to the greenback, pressing on riskier currencies, typically the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar, said Tina Teng, Markets Analyst, CMC Markets APAC & Canada, in a Wednesday note.

“Focus will be on the results as they land and any of the outlook commentary. BHP next week important particularly view on iron ore and feed back on what the steel mills are saying and doing. US housing numbers and approvals will be interesting, been very strong form other measures,” Ord Minnett’s Milroy said.

was down 0.31% at $80,74 a barrel, while fell 0.26% to $84.67 a barrel.

was flat at around $1,901.8 an ounce.


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