Most Asian stocks retreated on Thursday amid continued concerns over rising interest rates and slowing global economic growth, although optimism over more Chinese stimulus measures helped limit some losses. Chinese losses limited as state banks cut deposit rates China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes moved in a flat-to-low range, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.3% after the country’s biggest state-owned banks were seen cutting rates on yuan deposits. The move points to a further increase in local liquidity conditions, and could also herald a broader interest rate cut by the People’s Bank this month, as Beijing struggles to shore up a slowing economic rebound. Weak economic readings from the country continued to pile in, with trade data showing an unexpected decline in exports in May. Imports also fell, albeit at a slower pace. Focus is now on inflation data from Asia’s largest economy, due on Friday, for more cues on a running disinflationary trend in the country. Chinese stocks have largely wiped out all gains made this year, as optimism over an economic rebound in the country ran dry. Broader Asian stocks fell as traders steered clear of risk-heavy assets before a Federal Reserve meeting next week. Markets are largely split over whether the central bank will hike or hold interest rates, amid mixed cues on the U.S. economy. South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.4% as the government provided a weak outlook on annual economic growth, at 1.6%- nearly half of the 3.1% seen in 2022.
Australia’s ASX 200 index was flat.
as data showed the country’s exports and trade surplus both sank through April. The reading portends more pressure on the Australian economy, as it grapples with rising interest rates and high inflation. The Reserve Bank also raised rates this week and warned of more weakness in the Australian economy this year. Indian stock futures pointed to a flat open, ahead of a Reserve Bank meeting later in the day. The RBI is widely expected to keep rates steady. Japanese losses limited by strong Q1 GDP revision Japan’s Nikkei 225 and TOPIX fell 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively, amid some profit taking. But losses were largely negated by an upward revision to the country’s first-quarter gross domestic product, indicating some resilience in the Japanese economy. Optimism over the economy, coupled with continued expectations of a dovish Bank of Japan, had driven Japanese stocks to 33-year highs in recent weeks. While local indexes saw a measure of profit taking this week, they remained loftily valued.