Asian stocks slid as China trade figures showed signs of weakness in the region’s biggest economy. Japanese equities rallied on a weaker yen after U.S. payrolls topped estimates.
Benchmark indexes in Seoul, Sydney and Wellington slipped at least 0.4 percent as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index climbed 0.8 percent, leaving the MSCI Asia Pacific Index little changed at 141.24. China’s imports plunged by the most in more than five years and exports unexpectedly fell, a report over the weekend showed. Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index dropped 0.7 percent in most recent trading in Singapore.
“Chinese policy makers are acutely aware of potential issues within their economy and the bias is for more stimulus,” Tim Schroeders, a portfolio manager who helps oversee about $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne, said by phone. “The U.S. jobs data reaffirms the likelihood of a Fed change in policy around mid year. It caught the market on the wrong foot to a degree. It’s realigned people’s thoughts.”