SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific largely fell on Monday as investors watched for market reaction to Chinese trade data that came in better-than-expected.
China’s dollar-denominated exports grew 3.9% year-on-year in April, customs data showed Monday. They were above expectations for a 3.2% rise by analysts in a Reuters poll.
China’s dollar-denominated imports were unchanged in April compared to a year ago, better than an expected 3% drop, according to Reuters.
The data came as mainland China continued to battle its worst Covid outbreak since early 2020. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday emphasized that the country should stick to its “dynamic zero-Covid” policy.
“It is unclear how quickly China will pivot towards living with COVID,” Tapas Strickland, an economist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a Monday note. “As for data, it is expected to take a backseat given lockdowns/enhanced restrictions in many parts of the country.”
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3%.
“We’ve cautioned about getting too bearish,” Steve Brice, chief investment officer at Standard Chartered Wealth Management, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday.
“If you look at indicators … from a market perspective, that bearishness is coming through as well, and that’s usually a buying opportunity,” said Brice. “I know there’s a lot of challenges out there … in terms of the inflation outlook, but you know, the markets are already pricing in very, very sharp monetary policy tightening. At some point we will find a bottom.”
Markets in Hong Kong were closed on Monday for a holiday.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 103.991 following a recent jump from levels below 103.2.
The Japanese yen traded at 131.09 per dollar, weaker as compared with levels below 129 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7007 after last week’s drop from above $0.721.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures declining 0.3% to $112.05 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped 0.46% to $109.27 per barrel.