Asian stocks ended higher on Thursday following a choppy session, with mainland shares outperforming, as investors shrugged off disappointing Chinese trade figures.
Chinese exports slumped 6.6 percent in March, well below estimates for a 4 percent gain and following February's dramatic 18 percent plunge. Imports meanwhile, fell an annual 11.3 percent, underperforming expectations for a 2.4 percent rise. Following the data, Chinese Premier Li said the government won't take any short-term stimulus measures to deal with the economy's short-term volatility.
"We're back to the twisted logic that bad news is good news. I suspect that despite Premier Li's words, Beijing will be forced to ease. I don't think Li may be telling the entire truth; they need to ease because growth is relatively weak. Easing could come in the form of a RRR cut, an interest rate cut or currency weakness," said Nicholas Ferres, investment director, global asset allocation at Eastspring Investments.