Asian stocks flat, Chinese markets rise on recovery hopes Most Asian stocks moved little on Monday tracking hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials, while Chinese markets outperformed as the People’s Bank maintained medium-term lending rates ahead of a swathe of economic readings. China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes rose about 0.8% each after the PBOC maintained its medium-term lending rate facility at 2.75%, keeping monetary policy steady ahead of a key first-quarter GDP reading due on Tuesday. The data is expected to show that Chinese economic growth rebounded after the country withdrew most anti-COVID restrictions. Analysts at ING said that the PBOC’s move on Monday signaled that the bank was “not particularly worried about the recovery of the Chinese economy.” But the central bank continued to dole out liquidity measures, given that some facets of the economy are still struggling to recover. ING analysts also cautioned that a rebound in GDP will be limited. Chinese industrial production and retail sales data is also due on Tuesday, and is expected to shed more light on an economic recovery. The PBOC is also set to decide on its key loan prime rate later this week. While a recovery in China bodes well for Asian economies, broader markets were muted on Monday after Fed Governor Christopher Waller offered a hawkish outlook on interest rates on Friday.
Waller, a Noted Hawk, Called For Rates to Rise Further.
despite signs that U.S. inflation was retreating from 40-year highs. His comments pushed up expectations that the Fed will hike rates further in May, and cast doubts over whether a pause in future hikes was imminent. Uncertainty over rising U.S. rates weighed on Asian markets, even as a slew of regional central banks halted their respective tightening cycles, amid signs of easing inflation and cooling economic growth. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Taiwan Weighted index added 0.1% each. Risk-heavy Southeast Asian markets fell the most, with Philippine stocks losing 0.8%. Australia’s ASX 200 index rose 0.2%, with focus also turning to the minutes of the Reserve Bank’s April meeting, due later this week. The bank had paused its current rate hike cycle during the meeting. The U.S. earnings season is also in focus, as markets seek to gauge the full impact of high interest rates and inflation on corporate profits.