China's May trade data disappoints; Asia markets mixed after S&P 500 marks highest 2023 level

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

Cargo ships stop at their berths to load and unload containers at the container terminal in Lianyungang Port, East China's Jiangsu province, June 5, 2023. 
Wang Chun | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific markets are trading mixed as the region looks to China's May trade data and a speech from Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe, a day after Australia's central bank defied expectations and raised its benchmark interest rate to its highest in 11 years.

China's trade data missed forecasts, customs data showed. Exports tumbled 7.5% year-on-year, sharply lower than the 0.4% fall expected, while imports saw a smaller fall of 4.5% year-on-year, compared to a 8% fall that was forecast. The country's trade surplus in May was $65.81 billion, down 16.1%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.16% to record a second straight day of losses and end at 7,118, as Australia's gross domestic product grew 2.3% in the first quarter of the year, the slowest rate of growth in 1½ years.

The rally in Japanese stocks seemed to have taken a pause with the Nikkei 225 sliding 1.82% to 31,913.74, leading losses in the region and snapping a four day winning streak. The Topix saw a smaller loss of 1.34% to end at 2,206.3.

South Korea's markets came back from a public holiday all higher, with the Kospi climbing marginally to reach its highest level in about a year at 2,615.6 and the Kosdaq up by 1.2% to close at 880.72.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 0.6% in its final hour of trade, while mainland Chinese markets were more mixed. The Shanghai Composite rose marginally to end at 3,197.76, and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.6% to close at 10,708.82 and record its third straight day of losses.

Overnight in the U.S., the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced on Tuesday to their highest closes since 2023 began, as Wall Street digested a recent rally that led the broad index to its highest level in nine months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a smaller gain of 0.03%.

Coinbase dropped more than 12% after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued the crypto company.

— CNBC's Alex Harring contributed to this report

Correction: This blog has been updated to accurately reflect that China's trade surplus in May was $65.81 billion.

Japanese stocks tumble, reversing gains from previous sessions

Stocks in Japan tumbled in Wednesday's afternoon, as investors sold off ahead of the fixing of special quotation prices at the end of the week.

The Nikkei sharply fell by more than 1.8% and the Topix fell 1.34% – with the latter seeing declines led by healthcare, industrials, and technology stocks.

Shares of Sony led gains and fell 1.95%, followed by Tokyo Electron, Keyence Corp, and Daikin Industries.

The reverse in gains after Japanese stocks marked a new three decade high in previous sessions. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.2% to 139.36 against the U.S. dollar.

– Jihye Lee

South Korean entertainment stocks climb after reports of Netflix co-CEO visit

Stocks of South Korean content distributors and production companies climbed slightly after Yonhap reported that Netflix's co-CEO Ted Sarandos plans to visit South Korea later this month.

CJ ENM Entertainment Division, the mass media arm of South Korean conglomerate CJ, gained 2.49%, while subsidiary Studio Dragon, known for producing dramas like The Glory, advanced 0.36%.

Both companies signed a multi-year content production and distribution agreement back in 2019.

Shares of Studio Mir, which produces animated content for Netflix, also rose 3.29%.

Yonhap reported that Sarandos is expected to visit the country for two days from June 20, and this comes after Netflix announced plans to invest $2.5 billion in South Korea back in April.

— Lim Hui Jie

EU eyes mandatory ban for high-risk companies for 5G equipment, like Huawei: FT

The European Union is considering a mandatory ban in member states who use companies deemed to present a security risk in their 5G networks, according to the Financial Times.

The Financial Times reported that this includes Chinese telecoms group Huawei, and cited officials with knowledge of the discussions.

Despite EU member states agreeing on recommendations in 2020 to exclude high-risk vendors from technology investments, only a third of EU countries had banned Huawei from critical parts of the bloc's 5G communications.

FT reported that Thierry Breton, EU internal market commissioner, told the bloc's telecoms ministers at a meeting last Friday. "This is too few. And it exposes the union's collective security," he said.

— Lim Hui Jie

It's possible the Fed will pause rate hikes this time around, professor says

It's possible the Fed will pause rate hikes this time around, professor says
It's possible the Fed will pause rate hikes this time around, professor says

Raguhuran Rajan, Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth, says that the U.S. Federal Reserve may pause rates in its upcoming meeting, but markets pricing in a rate cut by the end of the year is "very optimistic."

China's exports plunge more than expected

China exports dropped more than expected in May, government data showed.

Exports fell 7.5% year-on-year in U.S. dollar terms, falling further than forecasts of 0.4% in a Reuters poll. Imports meanwhile fell 4.5% year-on-year, slightly above expectations of an 8% drop.

The trade surplus missed expectations and stood at $65.81 billion.

The onshore Chinese yuan weakened and last traded at 7.1190 against the U.S. dollar.

– Jihye Lee

Hyundai, Kia shares fall as New York sues for making easy to steal vehicles

Shares of Hyundai Motor and Kia fell on Tuesday morning after New York City sued the Korean automakers of negligence and creating a public nuisance by selling vehicles that can easily be stolen.

Kia Corp fell 1.86% and Hyundai shed 0.5% in its first hours of trade.

The complaint filed in Manhattan federal court seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, Reuters reported, describing the Korean automakers as "nearly unique" for failing to install anti-theft devices in most of their cars.

– Jihye Lee

Australia's economy grows by 2.3% in first quarter, slowest growth in 18 months.

Australia' first quarter gross domestic product expanded by 2.3% year-on-year, just slightly below analyst expectations.

This was the slowest rate of growth in 18 months since the country emerged from a Covid-19 lockdown in September 2021.

Economists polled by Reuters forecast an expansion of 2.4%, compared to the 2.7% expansion in the fourth quarter of 2022.

On a quarter on quarter basis, GDP grew by 0.2%, compared to the 0.3% expected in the Reuters poll.

— Lim Hui Jie

Traditional policy measures not likely to boost China economy, GROW's Hong Hao says

Many traditional policy measures are not likely to see desired effect in stimulating the China's economy, which is caught in a "very complicated" situation right now, Hong Hao, a partner and chief economist at GROW Investment Group, told CNBC Wednesday.

"Inflation (will continue) to trend down in the next couple of months, nobody should be surprised by that," Hong told Sri Jegarajah and Samantha Vadas in an interview on Squawk Box Asia.

While economic conditions might call for more stronger policy intervention and point to a looser monetary policy in the form of cuts in reserve requirement ratios and interest rates, he added, the world's second-largest economy does not need the extra liquidity, given strong M2 growth and depressed interest rates.

He added that piecemeal and targeted policies by the Chinese central bank and other government agencies to address the various economic problems in the world's second-largest economy is not yielding desired results.

Clement Tan

China's exports and imports expected to decline further in May

China's exports are expected to plunge from growth of 8.5% in April to a decline of 0.4% in May, according to economists surveyed by Reuters. China is due to release May trade data later on Wednesday.

Imports meanwhile are also forecast to slip further to an 8% drop for the month, after falling 7.9% in the month before.

In U.S. dollar terms, China's trade surplus is estimated to tick up from $90.21 billion to $92 billion.

The Chinese offshore yuan has been trading at weaker levels above the 7 mark against the U.S. dollar since the end of May.

China is also expected to release inflation data later in the week, which could prompt further speculation on stimulus from the government.

"A RRR [reserve Requirement ratio] cut and interest rate cuts are on the cards obviously because inflation is so low, and the conditions call for...more forceful policy measures to stimulate the economy," Grow Investment's chief economist Hao Hong told CNBC Wednesday.

– Jihye Lee

How Apple's stock follows WWDC, according to history

Following Apple's mixed reality headset debut, CNBC looked at what tends to happen to the tech giant's stock price following a release.

It turns out that Apple shares have risen the day after the WWDC event every time since 2016.

Ganesh Rao

Boeing slumps on new defect warning

Shares of Boeing fell more than 2% after the aircraft maker warned of a new defect on its 787 Dreamliner model.

"We are inspecting 787s in our inventory for a nonconforming condition related to a fitting on the horizontal stabilizer," Boeing said in a statement. "Airplanes found to have a nonconforming condition will be reworked prior to ticket and delivery."

The production flaw could potentially affect deliveries of its wide-body aircraft.

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Boeing shares fall on defect warning

— Leslie Josephs, Samantha Subin

World Bank says global growth to decelerate in 2023 amid high inflation and banking stress

Higher rates and overhangs from this year's banking crisis will drastically slow economic growth for the biggest global economies, the World Bank said Tuesday.

The institution said advanced economies — the U.S., Japan and Euro area countries — are expected to grow by only 0.7% in 2023, down from 2.6% in 2022.

The U.S. is projected to grow 1.1%, while the Euro area and Japan are projected to see GDP growth of less than 1% in 2023. U.S. GDP growth is expected to decelerate in 2024 to 0.8% as high interest rates further weigh on growth.

The bank estimates overall global growth will decelerate to 2.1% in 2023, down from 3.1% in 2022. Emerging and developing economies are forecasted to see a slight uptick in GDP to 4%, up 0.6% from the bank's projections made in January 2023. However, World Bank chief economist Indermit Gill said excluding China, growth in developing economies would be less than 3%.

Read more about the report here.

— Hakyung Kim

Topgolf Callaway climbs after professional golf leagues strike merger deal

Golf-related stocks were trading higher on Tuesday, as investors digested the news that the PGA Tour is merging with Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

Shares of Topgolf Callaway Brands Corp. climbed by more than 5%, and Titleist parent Acushnet Holdings jumped 4.1%.

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Shares of Topgolf Callaway Brands rose on Tuesday.

While the terms of the merger were not disclosed, CNBC's David Faber reported Tuesday that the Saudi Public Investment Fund was prepared to invest billions into the combined golf league. That may be leading some investors to bet that growing interest in golf could accelerate in the years ahead.

"The infusion of capital from PIF signifies a strong commitment to the growth and promotion of golf on a global scale. This injection of funds will enable the newly formed company to embark on ambitious initiatives aimed at expanding the reach of golf and cultivating a broader fan base," Jefferies analyst Randal Konik said in a note to clients.

— Jesse Pound