Asian markets were mixed in early trading Thursday, as optimism after British lawmakers rejected a no-deal Brexit was tempered by poor economic data from China and a warning from President Donald Trump that the U.S. may walk away from trade talks with China.
Trump spoke about China on Wednesday in Washington, and said that while he was optimistic a deal will be reached, he may walk if terms are not to his liking. “We’re making great deals, or we’re not going to make them at all. We’re going to go (with) tariffs,” Trump said.
On Thursday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said industrial output slowed more than expected in January and February, suggesting China’s economy is slowing down. Value-added industrial output in China rose 5.3% in the January-to-February period from the year before, compared to 5.7% a year ago and economists’ projections of 5.5%. Thursday’s reading was the slowest pace of growth in 17 years.
That sent stocks falling in mainland China. After early gains, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -1.09% was last down 0.9% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -2.39% was off more than 2%. Stocks in Hong Kong HSI, -0.03% gave up early gains as well, and were last up only about 0.1%. Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.20% was up 0.6%, while South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.04% was about flat. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, -0.25% and Singapore STI, -0.18% were slightly lower. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.13% was up about 0.1%.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank 9984, +2.63% jumped in Tokyo trading after a report that it may lead a $1 billion investment in Uber Technologies’ self-driving car unit. E-commers company Rakuten 4755, +2.44% and Kobe Steel 5406, +1.43% also rose. Oil producer CNOOC 0883, +3.92% advanced in