SHANGHAI — Asian shares veered between small losses and gains on Friday as investors awaited key China trade and lending data, and as worries over Sino-U.S. trade tensions countered optimism rooted in expectations of a Federal Reserve rate cut this month.
Later on Friday, China will release June trade data, with analysts expecting exports to have fallen as weakening global demand and a sharp hike in U.S. tariffs took a heavier toll on the world’s largest trading nation.
China is also due to release lending data on Friday, while second-quarter GDP figures are scheduled for Monday. The world’s second-largest economy is expected to have slowed to its weakest pace in at least 27 years, raising hopes for more stimulus to fend off a sharper slowdown.
“You’ve got key data coming out, and I don’t see why anyone would want to take a position until you’ve got that data,” said Michael Every, head of Asia-Pacific financial markets research at Rabobank in Hong Kong.
“We have a hell of a lot of signal coming through, but until we get the signal, this is noise,” he said.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last up 0.1%. Chinese shares rose, with the CSI300 adding 0.7%.
Australian shares dipped 0.1% and Japan’s Nikkei stock index turned higher after small early losses, adding 0.14%.
South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.37%.
Underscoring the economic impact of global trade tensions, Singapore’s economy grew at its slowest pace in a decade in the second quarter as electronics manufacturing output declined for a sixth consecutive month in May, and as exports saw their biggest decline in more than three years.
Amid the global slowdown, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated on Thursday that a rate cut is likely at the Fed’s next meeting.