Japan leads gains in Asia as China’s January inflation slows more than expected

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific rose in Wednesday trade, as tensions appeared to ease between Russia and Ukraine, boosting markets. Meanwhile, investors reacted to weaker-than-expected Chinese inflation data.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.06% in afternoon trade, leading gains among the region’s major markets, while the Topix index gained 1.56%.

In mainland China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.69% while the Shenzhen component climbed 0.558%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.27%.

China’s consumer price index for January rose 0.9% as compared with a year ago, slightly lower than expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.0% increase.

Chinese producer inflation for January was also below expectations. The producer price index for January rose 9.1% as compared with a year earlier, against expectations in a Reuters poll for a 9.5% increase.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi advanced 1.65%. Elsewhere in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.79%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 1.01% higher.

Elsewhere, Russia’s government announced Tuesday that Moscow is starting to return some troops at the Ukrainian border, though NATO’s chief warned that the military alliance has so far “not seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground from 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 surged 2.53% to 14,139.76.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.057 — against an earlier low of 95.955.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.68 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 115.2 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.715, largely holding on to gains after bouncing from below $0.71 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.13% to $93.16 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were below the flatline, trading at $92.05 per barrel.

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