Asian stocks dip after China’s soft data
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Tokyo - Asian stocks dipped on Friday following fresh signs of slowing Chinese growth, with energy stocks depressed across the region as crude oil hovered near a four-year low in an oversupplied market.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 percent.
China's economy lost further momentum in October, with factory growth dipping and investment growth hitting a near 13-year low.
“As Federal Reserve policy shifts towards monetary tightening, the kind of risk aversion stemming from emerging markets we saw at the start of the year may take place again,” said Junichi Ishikawa, a market analyst at IG Securities in Tokyo.
“The European Central Bank will play a key role in preventing such risk aversion. We may see instability continue in emerging markets until they are convinced that easing from the ECB and Bank of Japan can provide global support.”
Even Tokyo's Nikkei, which has outperformed its Asian peers this week on expectations that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will call an election in December and possibly delay a sales tax hike, succumbed to profit-taking.
The Nikkei lost 0.5 percent after climbing to a fresh seven-year high. The index was on track for a weekly gain of 2.6 percent.
“The pace of the rise is too fast - it can trigger decent profit-taking any minute,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, chief portfolio manager at Commons Asset Management in Tokyo.
The dollar was steady at 115.845 yen after scaling a new seven-year peak of 116.20 yen on the Nikkei's earlier surge.
Many market participants, particularly foreign players, have sold yen to hedge their positions in Japanese equities.
Some participants were focused on whether Japan can evade accusations at a weekend summit of G20 leaders in Australia of devaluing the yen amid a weaker outlook for much of the global economy.
Investors also awaited euro zone third quarter GDP and US retail sales numbers due later in the day.
The numbers may reinforce perceptions that the US economy is faring better than either Europe's or Japan's, raising the prospect of more monetary policy divergence that has been helping to push the dollar higher against the euro and yen.
The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.2456, inching back towards a two-year low of $1.2358 struck last Friday.
US crude oil was up 0.3 percent at $74.41 a barrel, although the bounce paled in comparison to the 3.9 percent drop the commodity suffered on Thursday, when it fell to a four-year low of $74.07.
Oil has been hit this week by factors including a stockpile surge at a delivery point for US crude and seeming reluctance by Saudi Arabia to cut output when the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on November 27.
Crude prices have slumped more than 30 percent since June. - Reuters