Hong Kong stocks rise 2%; China's exports see first annual drop since May 2020

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

The Chinese and Hong Kong flags flutter outside the Exchange Square complex in Hong Kong on Feb. 16, 2021.
Zhang Wei | China News Service via Getty Images

Hong Kong stocks led gains in the Asia-Pacific on Monday as China's trade data fell far short of expectations, marking the first annual decline in exports since May 2020. Exports fell by 0.3% and imports also fell by 0.7% — a Reuters poll had forecasted a rise of 4.3% and 0.1% respectively.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 2.55% in the final hour of trade and the Hang Seng Tech index gained 3.88%. Mainland China's Shanghai Composite was fractionally higher while the Shenzhen Component gained 0.232%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 1.21% higher to close at 27,527.64 and the Topix also gained 0.98% to close at 1,934.09. In South Korea, the Kospi was up 0.99% to close at 2,371.79. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6% higher in Australia to close at 6,933.7.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 1.3% higher.

Chinese health officials renewed its stance of sticking by strict measures, which is seen to dampen market sentiment after seeing soaring risk appetite last Friday with speculation of "conditional" plans for a reopening. Apple suppliers in the region are also in focus as the company warned Covid restrictions in China are hurting iPhone production.

U.S. and European markets rose on Friday on hopes the Federal Reserve would scale back future interest rate hikes following the latest jobs report, which marked the slowest pace of job gains since December 2020 despite stronger-than-expected growth.

Rising interest rates and food inflation are headwinds for Indian economy

The two risks that the Indian economy will face in 2023 are inflation and rising interest rates, the chairman of the State Bank of India Dinesh Kumar Khara told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Monday.

There is a risk that India and other economies would have to keep pushing up its interest rates when central banks such as the U.S. Federal Reserve do, Khara said.

Food inflation is also a challenge as India "imports a significant proportion of its food requirements", Khara added.

— Su-Lin Tan

U.S. midterms will not have 'direct, immediate impact' on China: Morgan Stanley

The U.S. midterm elections will not lead to a direct and immediate impact on China, Morgan Stanley said in a Monday note.

The results, however, may indicate a proposal to screen U.S. companies investing in China could be resurfaced.

Senator Robert Casey in September pushed for such a process in a Senate Banking Committee hearing in September, citing "national security" concerns.

If such proposals were to pass, Morgan Stanley sees the information technology sector, industrials and healthcare to be impacted the most, the note said.

Morgan Stanley added that they "do not expect hard decoupling between the West and China."

— Lee Ying Shan

China's October exports mark first year-on-year drop since May 2020

China's exports in U.S. dollar terms fell 0.3% in October from a year earlier, significantly missing expectations for an increase of 4.3% in a Reuters poll and a steep decline from 5.7% growth in September.

Imports also fell 0.7%, missing forecasts for a 0.1% gain from a year earlier after rising 0.3% in September.

The decline in U.S.-dollar terms last month marked the first year-on-year drop since May 2020, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

The yuan weakened by nearly 3% against the U.S. dollar in October, according to Refinitiv Eikon.

In yuan terms, exports rose by 7% and imports by 6.8%, customs data released Monday showed.

— Evelyn Cheng

Coinbase criticizes Singapore's crypto regulations, urges city-state to embrace retail trading

Singapore wants to be a Web3 hub, but disapproves of crypto trading at the same time, Coinbase's co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong pointed out in a panel session last week.

"Those two things are incompatible in my mind, and I would like to see Singapore embrace retail trading and self-hosted wallets," Armstrong said, speaking alongside Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2022.

Mohanty, in response, said that retail investors today are "exposed to risks they do not understand they are taking."

"We believe that Web 3.0 is the future and what we want to do is to ensure that the money which can transact on this ecosystem is considered a safe asset, safe currency," said Mohanty. "As long as that is the direction, we are OK."

— Sheila Chiang

China reopening still 'months away' despite talk of preparations: Goldman Sachs

Speculation of China's reopening led to a rally in markets last week, but economists at Goldman Sachs say that it's still "months away."

"The actual reopening is still months away as elderly vaccination rates remain low and case fatality rates appear high among those unvaccinated based on Hong Kong official data," economists led by Hui Shan said in a note.

They added that the government is probably working on an exit strategy, and that the firm expects the country to reopen in the second quarter of 2023.

— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley says this global battery material stock could soar by over 80%

Morgan Stanley expects shares in an Asian battery materials maker to rally by 85% by the end of next year.

This under-the-radar battery materials supplier to Tesla, which already has triple-digit revenue growth, plans to expand manufacturing into the United States.

Even JP Morgan's analysts who use a "conservative valuation approach" expect the stock to rally by 25% in a year.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

Apple says iPhone production temporarily reduced because of Covid-19 restrictions in China

Apple said iPhone 14 production has been temporarily reduced because of Covid-19 restrictions at its assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China, according to a statement Sunday.

The warning could mean the tech company may struggle to meet demand in December as it deals "significantly reduced capacity" at the plant. The company has previously signaled slowing growth in its iPhone business in its earnings report last month.

The warning from Apple comes as China in the past week ordered lockdowns in Zhengzhou, where Apple does the majority of its iPhone production. According to Reuters, employees have fled the facility because of Covid restrictions and outbreaks.

— Sarah Min, Kif Leswing

CNBC Pro: There are still opportunities in tech — here's how to trade it: Analysts

Tech firms are facing a double whammy of bad news, with disappointing earnings and continued rate hikes by the Federal Reserve both weighing on the sector.

But with the tech-heavy Nasdaq down more than 30% year-to-date, analysts say there are some bright spots that could offer opportunities to investors.

Here are some of their top picks, including one stock with an average upside of over 50%.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan