Asian indices saw steep pullbacks on Wednesday as sluggish economic data from China spooked markets that were already under strain from political uncertainty in Greece and a rout in oil prices.
Further igniting “risk-off” sentiment was a mixed finish on Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 0.3 percent while the S&P 500 shed half a point to 2,059.82. However, the Nasdaq Composite outperformed to close up 0.5 percent.
China’s Shanghai Composite index bounced back into positive territory late in the morning session, making gains of 0.5 percent. Earlier on, Shanghai shares lost more than 1 percent after worse-than-expected inflation numbers added to concerns of cooling activity in the world’s second-largest economy. The consumer price index rose 1.4 percent from the year-ago period – the lowest reading since November, 2009 – below a Reuters forecast for a 1.6 percent increase.