China’s May trade data comes far ahead of expectations

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SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed in Thursday trade, with investors watching for market reaction to China’s trade data for May that performed above expectations.

The Shanghai Composite in mainland China slipped 0.49% while the Shenzhen Component dipped 1.336%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed around 0.2%.

China’s exports jumped 16.9% in May as compared with a year ago, Reuters reported Thursday. That bested expectations by analysts in a Reuters poll for a 8% rise.

Imports were also higher than expected, rising 4.1% against expectations for a 2% increase, according to Reuters.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was 0.22% higher as shares of Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group both jumped more than 2% each while the Topix index climbed 0.19%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.47%.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.85%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.42% lower.

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The European Central Bank is also expected to signal a July rate hike at its policy meeting later on Thursday. In Asia-Pacific, the central banks of Australia and India both announced rate hikes earlier this week.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 shed 1.08% to 4,115.77. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 269.24 points, or 0.81%, to 32,910.90. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.73% to 12,086.27.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 102.484 in a turbulent week that has seen it go from levels below 102 to around 102.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 133.87 per dollar, weaker as compared with levels below 132 seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7184, still off levels above $0.725 seen last week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures climbed 0.35% to $124.01 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 0.25% to $122.42 per barrel.

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