The Nikkei Index traded slightly lower on Wednesday despite Chinese economic data that was slightly better than expected, while weakness on Wall Street overnight also limited investor risk appetites.
The Hang Seng Index, as well as the shares on mainland China inched slightly higher on Wednesday, after Beijing reported that economic growth increased by 2% in the second quarter, taking annual growth for April-June to 7.5%, while retail sales and industrial production were either in line with market expectations or slightly higher.
Reuters reports that European markets are expected to open firmer on Wednesday after Chinese growth data came out slightly above market expectations, suggesting strong demand in the world's largest metals consumer.
According to Reuters, U.S. markets ended in negative territory on Tuesday but still managed to close well above the day’s lows with the Dow reversing all of its earlier losses, following comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that "equity valuations of smaller firms, as well as social media and biotechnology firms appear to be stretched."
Business Day reports that the JSE All Share closed higher in choppy trade on Tuesday, after comments from US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen that reiterated that an accommodative monetary policy was still required to achieve the central bank’s goals, while the US earnings reporting season was also a driver for the local bourse.
The Rand is trading slightly lower at R10.7160 against the US Dollar, with the Euro quoted at R14.5350 and the British Pound at R18.3373.
The gold price was steady in Singapore trade on Wednesday on the back of a stronger US Dollar, as well as fears that the Federal Reserve could raise U.S. interest rates sooner than expected, but traders expect gold to fall further, especially as this week's $40 drop has failed to produce demand in physical buying in Asia. The gold price last traded at $1,298.08, with the platinum price quoted at $1,481.60, while the palladium price is trading at $865.28.
Brent crude oil has moved above the $106 a barrel level on Wednesday following China growth data that implied oil demand increased to its highest since the beginning of last year, offsetting easing concerns about supply disruptions from violence in North Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine. Brent was last trading at $106.20 a barrel.