AFP - Asian and European markets climbed yesterday following news Chinese factory gate prices increased for the first time in more than four years, while the death of Thailand’s king sparked bargain-buying after suffering a sell-off in his final days.
Beijing said the producer price index rose last month after 54 consecutive months of falling, beating estimates for a drop and providing some much-needed hope for the Chinese economy a day after market-sapping trade figures.
Chinese firms have for years been battered by falling prices for their goods in the face of chronic overcapacity and weak demand, putting a damper on growth in a key driver of the world economy. Consumer prices also rose more than expected.
“The end of PPI deflation is a good signal for the economy’s stabilisation,” Gao Yuwei, a researcher at Bank of China in Beijing, told Bloomberg News. “PPI is expected to be remain expansionary in the coming months.”
Traders around Asia broadly welcomed the news on the world’s number two economy, which is struggling with a years-long fight against slowing growth.
Hong Kong ended 0.9 percent higher and Shanghai gained 0.1 percent, while Seoul was up 0.4 percent and Tokyo added 0.5 percent. Sydney was flat.
In Bangkok the Stock Exchange of Thailand soared 4.2 percent in the afternoon, paring huge losses built up through the week as news filtered out that King Bhumibol Adulyadej was gravely ill.
The baht climbed one percent against the dollar. Thai stocks plunged around six percent this week and the baht lost around three percent as investors grew uneasy about political and economic stability following the death of the monarch who reigned for seven decades.
While he wielded no official power, Bhumibol was considered a uniting force in a fractured nation where political tensions are still raw two years after a military coup. However, analysts said the king’s death had been priced into the market and investors were rushing in for bargain stocks, while attention will now be on the succession process for his son.
“Thailand’s economic fundamentals remain unaffected, which should help it to weather this storm,” Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based strategist at IG Asia Pte, said before the announcement.
“The military government, which has overseen the economy during a period of increasing (economic) growth, could help to guide the country through the period.”
And Margaret Yang, an analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, added: “Eventually smart money will flow in to support the market.” In Seoul Samsung Electronics rose 1.3 percent as investors brushed off its warning that it expects another $3 billion-plus hit to profit over the next two quarters owing to the impact of its exploding Note 7 crisis. It said it hoped a pick-up in sales of its other flagship handset would help cushion the impact. The warning came two days after it slashed its operating profit outlook for the third quarter by $2.3 billion as it announced it was scrapping the model entirely.