HONG KONG – Thai stocks surged Friday as investor uncertainty eased following an announcement the country’s long-reigning king has died. Other Asian indexes also rose, buoyed by higher-than-expected Chinese inflation figures that eased worries over the world’s No. 2 economy.
KEEPING SCORE: Thailand’s SET rebounded after days of losses, jumping 4.1 per cent to 1,469.89. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.4 per cent to 16,838.81 and South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.6 per cent to 2,027.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.6 per cent to 23,163.80 but the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China slipped 0.5 per cent to 3,045.14. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 per cent higher to 5,437.60.
THAI KING: Uncertainty over the health of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s roiled Thailand’s stock market earlier this week. Shares bounced back after investors saw little immediate fallout after his death was announced late Thursday. The prime minister said in a televised address that to minimize disruptions, businesses, the stock market, tourist attractions and public transport would operate as usual on Friday.
ANALYST VIEW: “The expectation has been more or less priced in, so it’s not a surprise to see a rebound today when the news actually came out” of the king’s death, said Margaret Yang of CMC Markets in Singapore. “In the longer term, we will still have to keep an eye on the transition, if there is any rising political risk in the country, but that’s more of a mid and longer term perspective.”
CHINA INFLATION: Consumer prices in China rose 1.9 per cent last month, higher than the 1.6 per cent forecast by analysts in a FactSet survey. The numbers suggest consumer demand is starting to pick up in China, which has been grappling with a prolonged economic downturn. Another gauge of inflation released by China’s statistics bureau, the producer price index measuring prices businesses receive for goods and services, turned positive for the first time since 2012. Analysts predicted that would mark the end of global deflation as Chinese factories pass rising costs on to overseas customers.
WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks ended lower. The Dow Jones Industrial average dipped 0.2 per cent to 18,098.94. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.3 per cent to 2,132.55. The Nasdaq composite sank 0.5 per cent 5,213.33.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 104.08 yen from 103.64 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1026 from $1.1052.
ENERGY: Oil prices extended gains. Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures rose 37 cents to $50.81 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 26 cents to settle at $50.44 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 17 cents to $52.09 a barrel in London.