Japanese stocks fell and other Asian markets were higher Monday after a global finance meeting failed to yield fresh ideas for spurring global growth, and Tokyo reported weaker exports.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.5 percent to 16,657.72, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent to 5,344.40. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5 percent to 2,842.70 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.3 percent to 19,923.13. Seoul’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 1,953.00 and benchmarks in Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines also advanced. New Zealand and Singapore were lower.
GLOBAL GROWTH: Finance ministers of the Group of Seven major economies ended a weekend meeting without agreement on a plan to revive global growth. Most of the G-7 governments favor official action to stimulate demand, but Germany is more conservative. Instead, finance ministers stressed the importance of varying action for different countries. The U.S. treasury secretary, Jacob Lew, urged his Japanese counterpart, Taro Aso, to refrain from devaluing the yen to boost exports.
ANALYST’S TAKE: Lew’s message to Aso, the second time Washington has warned Tokyo against trying to intervene in currency markets to support trade, “may affect the Japanese central bank’s ambitions to push monetary stimulus further,” Margaret Yang Yan of CMC Markets said in a report.
JAPANESE TRADE: Japanese exports measured by value fell 10.1 percent in April from a year earlier, a deterioration from March’s 6.8 percent decline. The slump in export values is likely to endure, “undermining corporate profits and business sentiment,” said Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics. He said it shows the Japanese central bank “still has more work to do to reach its 2 percent inflation target.”
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 22 cents to $48.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined 26 cents the previous session to close at $48.41. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 20 cents to $48.52 per barrel in London. The contract lost 9 cents the previous session to close at $48.72
CURRENCY: The dollar weakened to 109.81 yen from Friday’s 110.10 yen. The euro rose to $1.1239 from $1.1224.