Asian Stocks Advance on China Trade Data as Japanese Shares Jump

  • Japan's benchmark Topix index gains for first time this year
  • Shanghai equities continue slump, hitting lowest since August

Asian stocks rebounded from a three-year low, with Japanese shares climbing for the first time this year, as China’s exports unexpectedly rose in yuan terms and investors speculated a global selloff had gone too far.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1.8 percent to 122.86 as of 4:04 p.m. in Hong Kong, halting a seven-day losing streak after closing at the lowest level since November 2012 on Tuesday. Japan’s Topix index jumped 2.9 percent, its biggest gain in four months. Stocks in Shanghai resumed losses, dropping to the lowest level since August.

Global equities are climbing, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advancing for a second day, after a selloff wiped more than $5 trillion from share values this year amid concern over China’s ability to manage its slowing economy and the impact of sliding crude prices. Asia stocks extended gains Wednesday as data showed China’s overseas shipments increased in December for the first time in six months, suggesting a weakening currency may be starting to boost competitiveness in the world’s biggest trading nation.

“The data was worse than expected in previous months, but this time it was quite good, with both exports and imports being better than expected,” said Sam Chi Yung, a strategist at Delta Asia Securities Ltd. “This is positive for market sentiment, but whether it’s sustainable, I would still be cautious because the market has continued to drop recently.”

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index in Hong Kong rallied 0.7 percent from a four-year low following the release of the exports data and as the offshore yuan headed for the biggest five-day gain on record. The Hang Seng Index gained 1.1 percent, the most in almost a month. China’s overseas shipments increased 2.3 percent in December in yuan terms from a year earlier, while economists had expected a 4.1 percent decline, and imports fell less than estimated.

The better-than-expected report and efforts by the government to stabilize the yuan failed to ease mainland investors’ concerns about the economy. The Shanghai Composite Index erased an early gain, dropping 2.4 percent to close below 3,000 for the first time since Aug. 26. The gauge has slumped 17 percent in 2016, the world’s worst-performing global index.

Japan’s Topix surged after slumping 3.1 percent on Tuesday to cap its worst start to a year on record. South Korea’s Kospi index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 1.3 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index and Taiwan’s Taiex index advanced 0.7 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.4 percent.

Alumina, Cnooc

Alumina Ltd., the Australian partner of Alcoa Inc. in the world’s largest alumina producer, jumped 11 percent after Citigroup Inc. upgraded the stock, citing expectations that global production cuts can drive a recovery in prices. Oriental Land Co., which operates the Tokyo Disney Resort, added 4.9 percent after the Nikkei newspaper said its operating profit will recover.

Cnooc Ltd. jumped 2.8 percent in Hong Kong, pacing gains among energy producers as crude futures bounced back after tumbling below $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years. The relatively low level for oil also helped airlines, which stand to benefit from cheap fuel prices. Japan Airlines Co. climbed 5 percent.

E-mini futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent. The U.S. equity benchmark index climbed 0.8 percent on Tuesday, paced by technology and health-care shares.

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