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Chinese Stocks Jump; Data Shows China's Inflation in April Heated Up Above Expectations

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  • Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed in Wednesday morning trade.
  • China's producer price index for April rose 8% year-on-year, higher than expectations for a 7.7% increase by analysts in a Reuters poll.
  • The U.S. April consumer price index is also set to be released Wednesday stateside, and is expected to come in slightly below March's 8.5% which could signal that inflation has reached a peak.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as investors watched for market reaction to the release of higher-than-expected Chinese inflation data for April.

Mainland Chinese stocks led gains regionally, with the Shanghai Composite rising 0.75% to close at 3,058.70 while the Shenzhen Component climbed 1.803% to 11,109.48. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index advanced 0.97% on the day to 19,824.57.

Investor sentiment on Chinese stocks may have been lifted by positive developments on the mainland's Covid situation.

Shanghai's government announced Wednesday that eight districts have "contained the virus at a community level." Meanwhile, the capital city of Beijing also saw roughly half the number of new daily cases as it has in prior days.

In inflation data released Wednesday, China's producer price index for April rose 8% year-on-year, higher than expectations for a 7.7% increase by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Consumer inflation also rose more than expected. The consumer price index climbed 2.1% year-on-year, above expectations for a 1.8% gain by analysts in a Reuters poll.

"China's going to be struggling with a lot of economic issues including the supply chain and inflation factors but I'm a little less worried about supply chain than I perhaps was six months ago," Andrew Collier, managing director at Orient Capital Research, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Wednesday.

"Even in Shanghai, 70% of [the] manufacturing capacity is online. The recent American Chamber of Commerce survey said only 15% of their companies are not producing although most of them, two-thirds have slowdowns," Collier said.

Tech stocks jump

Tech stocks in Asia jumped in Wednesday trade, bouncing back from recent losses.

In Hong Kong, shares of Tencent gained 2.7% and Meituan surged 6.32%. NetEase also advanced 2.81%. The Hang Seng Tech index rose 2.89% to 4,019.28.

Meanwhile, shares of Nintendo in Japan gained 3.25% after the firm on Tuesday announced an unexpected 10-for-1 stock split in a bid to make its stock more appealing to retail investors.

Sony Group also saw its stock jumping 2.1%, with the company recently announcing a 200 billion Japanese yen (around $1.53 billion) share buyback as well as a forecasted 56% year-on-year rise in PlayStation 5 sales in the current financial year.

Elsewhere in the broader markets, the Nikkei 225 in Japan gained 0.18% to close at 26,213.64 while the Topix index shed 0.6% to 1,851.15.

South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.17%, finishing the trading day at 2,592.27 while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.19% higher at 7,064.70.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.4%.

The U.S. April consumer price index is also set to be released Wednesday stateside, and is expected to come in slightly below March's 8.5% which could signal that inflation has reached a peak.

"The US CPI for April is today's, indeed the week's, highlight," Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note.

"The consensus of US economists expect headline inflation to decelerate significantly from 1.2%/mth in March to only 0.2%/mth in April because retail petrol prices have stabilised. But core inflation is expected to step up slightly from 0.3%/mth in March to 0.4%/mth in April," Capurso said.

Oil prices gain more than 2%

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 2.94% to $105.47 per barrel. U.S. crude futures climbed 2.95% to $102.70 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 103.648 after seeing an earlier high of 103.961.

The Japanese yen traded at 129.90 per dollar, stronger as compared with levels above 130.5 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6984 as it struggles for a bounce after declining from above $0.70 earlier in the week.

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