Asian Markets Mixed; China PMI, BOJ In Focus 

Jul 31, 2018

Asian equities were mixed in afternoon trade on Tuesday after China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) fell more than expected in July. The outcome of the Bank of Japan's two-day policy meeting is expected to be in focus later in the day.

The Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were 0.2% and 0.1% lower respectively by 1:30AM ET (01:30 GMT). China’s factory activities fell more than expected in July, official data from the statistics bureau showed on Tuesday. 

The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) fell to 51.2 in July from 51.1 in June and is lower than the expected 51.3. 

Meanwhile, the service PMI, covering services and construction, which accounts for more than half of China’s economy, stood at 54, compared with 55 in June. 

The composite PMI, which covers both manufacturing and services activity, fell to 53.6 in July, from June's 54.4. 

The private manufacturing PMI, which focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises, is set to be released on Wednesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index traded 0.6% lower in morning trade. 

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 climbed 0.1%. All eyes are on the outcome of the Bank of Japan's two-day policy meeting due later in the day. Analysts believed officials may adjust policy stimulus, earlier reports suggested. The yen is expected to be in focus as any winding back of stimulus could push the Japanese currency higher and undermine efforts to boost domestic inflation that is well below the central bank’s 2% target.  

South Korea’s KOSPI edged 0.1% lower as index heavyweight Samsung (KS:005930) Electronics’ earnings fell short of markets’ estimates. The company reported on Tuesday that its net income rose to 11 trillion won in the three months ended June. That compares with the general consensus of 11.6 trillion won.  

Down under, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.04% as gains in financials and telecommunications were largely offset by declines in consumer and information technology stocks. 

Elsewhere, the U.S., Japan and Australia agreed to invest in infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific. “This trilateral partnership is in recognition that more support is needed to enhance peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Tuesday in an emailed statement.