Japan leads gains in Asia as Chinese inflation in January slows more than expected

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose Wednesday morning as investors react to inflation data in China. Meanwhile, tensions appeared to ease between Russia and Ukraine, boosting markets.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.96% in morning trade, leading the gains among the region’s major markets, while the Topix index gained 1.44%.

In mainland China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.49% while the Shenzhen component climbed 0.277%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.97%.

China’s consumer price index for January rose 0.9% from a year ago, slightly below expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.0% increase.

Chinese producer inflation for January was also lower than expected. The producer price index for January rose 9.1% from a year earlier, beating expectations from a Reuters poll that called for a 9.5% increase.

In South Korea, the Kospi rose 1.54%. Elsewhere in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.41%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan traded up 0.84%.

Elsewhere, the Russian government announced on Tuesday that Moscow was starting to send troops back to the Ukrainian border, although the NATO chief warned that the military alliance had so far “seen no signs of de-escalation on the ground on the Russian side”.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 422.67 points to 34,988.84 while the S&P 500 climbed 1.58% to 4,471.07. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.53% to 14,139.76.

Currencies and Oil

the The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.011 – levels above 96 seen recently.

The Japanese yen was trading at 115.66 to the dollar, still weaker than the sub-115.2 levels seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7147, largely holding onto its gains after rebounding below $0.71 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were lower in morning trading hours in Asia, with international benchmark Brent futures down 0.47% at $92.84 a barrel. U.S. crude futures fell 0.38% to $91.72 a barrel.

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