Equities across Asia-Pacific were mixed, with bourses in Sydney and Hong Kong subdued following disappointing January trade data from China. China’s drop in both imports and exports weighed on Australia’s S&P ASX 200, which looks set to end its record run of 12 straight sessions of gains. The index is down 0.5 per cent.
National political tensions simmered down somewhat after Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, survived a no-confidence vote among Liberal party parliamentarians that ended an immediate threat to his leadership. However, the narrow margin of victory suggested that he could face further challenges in the weeks ahead.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite up 0.4 per cent. Both pared losses in early trading following the release of Chinese trade data over the weekend. China’s exports fell 3.3 per cent in January from a year earlier, while imports contracted 19.9 per cent, according to data released on Sunday by the Customs Administration. The monthly trade surplus bulged to a record $60bn.