Asia Markets

Asia Pacific stocks dip as China's trade data in June beats expectations; Singapore enters recession

Key Points
  • Shares in Asia Pacific fell on Tuesday.
  • China's dollar-denominated trade data for June was released on Tuesday. Exports rose 0.5% year-on-year while imports increased 2.7% as compared to a year earlier, according to customs data.
  • Singapore's economy contracted 12.6% in the second quarter as compared to a year ago, according to advance estimates by the Ministry of Trade and Industry released Tuesday.

Stocks in Asia Pacific fell on Tuesday, as China's trade data for June came in above expectations.

Mainland Chinese stocks declined on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.83% to around 3,414.62 while the Shenzhen component dropped 1.079% to about 13,996.46. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.24%, as of its final hour of trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.87% to close at 22,587.01 while the Topix index declined 0.5% to finish its trading day at 1,565.15. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.11% to close at 2,183.61.

Shares in Australia also saw losses on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.61% to 5,941.10.

Over in Southeast Asia, the Straits Times Index in Singapore dipped 0.29% in afternoon trade. Singapore's economy entered a technical recession after shrinking 41.2% in the second quarter as compared to the previous quarter, according to advance estimates by the Ministry of Trade and Industry released Tuesday. A technical recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of quarter-on-quarter contraction.

"Even with a widely expected bottoming in Q2, the worry is about a long hard slog back, with the path to recovery littered with uncertainty," Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note. Still, he said: ""A knee-jerk ramp-up on policy stimulus is not our base case, despite how grim the data appear."

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index slipped 0.93%.

China's dollar-denominated trade data for June released on Tuesday came in above expectations. Exports rose 0.5% year-on-year while imports increased 2.7% as compared to a year earlier, according to customs data. A Reuters poll had estimated that June exports contracted 1.5% from a year earlier, while imports were expected to fall 10.0% from last year.

On the coronavirus front, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday warned that "too many countries are headed in the wrong direction."

"In several countries across the world, we are now seeing dangerous increases in Covid-19 cases, and hospital wards filling up again," Tedros said. "It would appear that many countries are losing gains made as proven measures to reduce risk are not implemented or followed."

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.585 after touching an earlier high of 96.61.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.30 per dollar after weakening from the 106.8 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6944 after turbulent trading on Monday that saw it at levels above $0.698.

Oil prices dropped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.43% to $42.11 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined 1.6% to $39.46 per barrel.

CNBC's Evelyn Cheng, Yen Nee Lee and Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.