Asian stocks rose Tuesday despite a lukewarm lead from Wall Street after weak Chinese economic data showed the deep cuts of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy and added to inflation worries.
China has persisted in its strict zero-Covid policy to stamp out an Omicron-fuelled wave, ordering lockdowns in various cities and shuttering factories and ports.
The impact of this strategy on the world’s second-largest economy was revealed Monday when official data showed that retail sales and industrial production in April on-year had slumped to their lowest levels in more than two years.
World markets have also been roiled by surging inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine — leaving investors jittery.
“Markets remain in fight or flight mode while rolling the dice on recession odds,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said.
“Investors’ hopes remain elevated that yesterday’s worse than expected Chinese outruns could prove to be a ‘whatever it takes’ moment, and local policymakers will step hard on the stimulus pedal.”
Authorities in Shanghai — China’s biggest city — over the weekend announced they will reopen in stages, news that provided some cheer to Asian markets.
China also announced measures to help young people find jobs — as the urban unemployment rate rose to its highest in over two years — while officials have lowered the mortgage rate for first-time homebuyers.
On Tuesday, Asia markets opened higher with Hong Kong leading the way — the Hang Sang Index rose more than two percent.