Asian equity markets ended mostly higher on Monday as the Yen weakened after Japanese trade balance figures missed expectations, and oil prices held steady after posting their first weekly decline in five weeks on concerns over rising production and swelling stockpiles in the US.
Reports showed that Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 1,086.9 billion yen in January as exports slowed down due to a decline in US exports and the timing of Chinese New Year holidays. That missed forecasts for a shortfall of 625.9 billion yen following the 640.4 billion yen deficit in December.
Chinese shares ended higher after reports that pension funds are entering the stock market. Investor sentiment was also boosted after China’s securities regulator unveiled new rules on Friday restricting excessive and frequent fundraising by some listed companies. Continue reading
This kind of diversion between equities and bonds usually does not end well for equities. The above chart plots S&P500 index vs Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (NYSEARCA:BND). The divergence starts from Nov 2016 and appears to be peaking out.
Since the beginning of the year, recovery of the global economy underperformed expectations, as increased divergence between the macroeconomic policies of major economies and Brexit added to uncertainties in the global economy. Against such a background, the Chinese economy managed to stay broadly stable, with all major indicators within a reasonable range. However, structural problems were still obvious, and the pressure of economic downturn was great. Against an external environment with mounting difficulties and austere challenges, we improved management, and deepened reform, innovation and business transformation. We actively resolved the various difficulties, fostered stability, made progress, realized stable operation, and achieved tangible interim results. Continue reading