HONG KONG- Asian markets edged up on bargain-buying Thursday, with investors nervously awaiting Chinese economic data after a disappointing set of indicators at the weekend fueled a broad sell-off this week.
The euro hovered around a 17-month high against the dollar struck in New York, while the Australian dollar also surged against its US counterpart after Sydney reported a jump in full-time employment.
Tokyo rose 0.47 percent by the break after sinking 2.59 percent on Wednesday, Hong Kong was up 0.33 percent, Sydney gained 0.60 percent, Shanghai climbed 1.07 percent and Seoul added 0.53 percent.
Apart from minor gains Tuesday, global markets have been on a downward trend since the weekend, when China announced a surprise trade deficit and dive in exports that stoked fears about the economy.
Exacerbating that are lingering liquidity woes and concerns about the business sector following the country’s first corporate bond default on Friday.
While officials blamed much of the weak economic results on the Lunar New Year holiday, analysts said underlying troubles remain, and will be hoping for some respite with Thursday’s data.
Beijing will unveil figures on industrial output, fixed asset investment — a measure of government spending on infrastructure — and retail sales in the afternoon.
“The mood has gone more risk-off again as questions over both Chinese economic growth and credit quality have re-surfaced,” said Mutsumi Kagawa, senior global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.
“More and brighter data on how the US economy is performing would go a long way to mollifying such concerns, but for now the mood is sober,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.