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James Hyerczyk
Asia-Pacific Stocks

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes closed lower on Monday as investors took profits and squared positions on the last day of trading in November. Traders showed little reaction to potentially bullish data from China showing a further expansion in the manufacturing sector. Trade frictions between Washington and Beijing may have also weighed on investor sentiment.

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26433.62, down 211.09 or -0.79%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2591.34, down 42.11 or -1.60% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed at 26341.49, down 553.19 or -2.06%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3391.76, down 16.55 or -0.49% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6517.80, down 83.30 or -1.26%.

China’s Factory Activity Expands at Fastest Pace in Over Three Years

China’s factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than three years in November, while growth in the services sector also hit a multi-year high, as the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic stepped up.

Upbeat data released on Monday suggests the world’s second-largest economy is on track to become the first to completely shake off the drag from widespread industry shutdowns, with recent production data showing manufacturing now at pre-pandemic levels.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 52.1 in November from 51.4 in October, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. It was the highest PMI reading since September 2017 and remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. It was also higher than the 51.5 median forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

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The Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, according to a document and sources, curbing their access to U.S. investors and escalating tensions with Beijing weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Japan Oct Retail Sales Rise; Factor Output Grows for Fifth Month

Japanese retail sales rose 6.4% in October from a year earlier, up for the first time in eight months and matching a median market forecast, government data showed on Monday.

Japan’s industrial output rose for the fifth straight month in October signaling the economy was recovering further from the damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Official data released on Monday showed factory output jumped 3.8% in October from the previous month, mainly due to strength in general machinery production and motor vehicle manufacturing.

The solid increase beat the median market forecast of a 2.1% rise in a Reuters poll of economists, and was in line with the prior month’s 3.9% gain.

Aussie Shares Tumble Amid Spat with China Over Hefty Wine Tariffs

Shares in Australia fell sharply on Monday after the country’s Treasury Wine Estates said it would divert hundreds of thousands of case of China-bound wine to other countries to avoid hefty tariffs, battering its shares as it acknowledged its future in its biggest market was unclear.

After Beijing imposed a 169.3% mark-up as part of an industry-wide anti-dumping investigation, the world’s largest listed winemaker said it would redirect sales of its prized Penfolds label to the U.S., Europe, elsewhere in Asia and domestically.

Treasury shares fell as much as 12% in early trade on Monday, against a slightly weaker broader market. The stock is down a third since China announced the anti-dumping investigation in August.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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