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James Hyerczyk
Asia Pacific Shares

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Wednesday with some edging higher a 10th consecutive session, but upside momentum was a struggle as doubts about the global recovery from the pandemic returned ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the day stateside.

The ebb and flow movement in the indexes put a lid on some of the indexes after two weeks of gains that were fueled by growing optimism over a swift recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by the global economy.

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On Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23124.95, up 33.92 or +0.15%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2195.69, up 6.77 or +0.31% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is trading 25042.53, down 14.69 or -0.06%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 2943.75, down 12.36 or -0.42% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6148.40, up 3.50 or +0.06%.

China Factory Gate Deflation Deepens on Global Demand Slump

China’s producer prices fell by the sharpest rate in more than four years, underscoring pressure on the manufacturing sector as the COVID-19 pandemic reduces trade flows and global demand, Reuters reported.

The producer price index (PPI) in May fell 3.7% from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement on Wednesday, the sharpest decline since March 2016. That compared with a 3.3% drop tipped by a Reuters poll of analysts and a 3.1% fall in April.

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China CPI – Weakest Reading Since March 2019

China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.4% from a year earlier – the weakest reading since March 2019 – compared with a 3.3% increase in April, as food prices continued to ease. Analysts had projected a 2.7% rise.

That was largely due to slowing food prices, which rose 10.6% in May from a year earlier, versus a 14.8% rise in April. Food price increases in May were led by an 81.7% rise in pork prices, compared with a 96.9% jump previously, the data showed.

Core Inflation – which excludes food and energy costs – remained benign last month at 1.1%, unchanged from April’s rise.

Japan’s Machinery Orders, Wholesale Prices Sink as Pandemic Hits Business Spending

Japan’s machinery orders slumped in April at their quickest pace in nearly two years, as a drop in demand and company profits caused by the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed business spending.

Separate data showed May wholesale prices fell at the fastest annual pace in nearly four years, keeping alive market fears Japan may slide back into deflation.

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