Asia Markets

Asia markets little changed as data shows China's April industrial output rose more than expected

Key Points
  • Shares in Asia were little changed on Friday.
  • China's industrial output rose 3.9% year-on-year in April, according to data released Friday by the country's National Bureau of Statistics.

Stocks in Asia were little changed on Friday as data showed China's industrial output bouncing back more than expected in April.

Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite slightly lower at around 2,868.46 while the Shenzhen composite added 0.159% to about 1,808.56. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index hovered around the flatline, as of its final hour of trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.62% higher at 20,037.47 while the Topix index rose 0.5% to end its trading day at 1,453.77.

South Korea's Kospi added 0.12% to close at 1,927.28. Shares in Australia saw gains on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.43% to 5,404.80 as shares of major miner BHP jumped 3.46%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 0.19%.

On the economic data front, China's industrial output rose 3.9% year-on-year in April, according to data released Friday by the country's National Bureau of Statistics. That marked the first expansion in the metric for this year from China. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected industrial output for April to rise 1.5%. Retail sales, however, fell 7.5% in April. That was a larger fall than the 7% decline forecast, according to Reuters.

Data from China has been watched by investors has been watched for signs of where the country, where the first cases of the coronavirus pandemic were reported, has managed to restart its economy following lockdown measures implemented earlier in the year.

"Going forward, the ensuing global recession will weigh on China's recovery," Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics, wrote in a note.

Still, Kuijs acknowledged that China's growth "now relies largely on domestic demand." He said household consumption momentum "improved substantially" in April though it "remained the weakest link."

Overnight on Wall Street, the  Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 377.37 points higher at 23,625.34 while the S&P 500 ended its trading day 1.15% higher at 2,852.50. The Nasdaq Composite closer 0.9% higher at 8,943.72. Thursday's moves stateside, however, still left the major averages on track for their worst weekly performance since March 20. 

Oil prices jump

Oil prices surged in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. The international benchmark Brent crude futures contract added 3.76% to $32.30 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 3.37% to $28.49 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 100.358 after touching levels around 100.5 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.17 per dollar after weakening from levels around 106.8 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6453, off highs above $0.654 seen earlier this week.