Jul 17, 2017 07:53 AM IST | Source: CNBC

Asia markets mixed in early trade ahead of China Q2 GDP; Kospi gains 0.5%

Asia markets were mixed in early Monday trade as investors awaited the release of China second-quarter GDP.

Asia markets were mixed in early Monday trade as investors awaited the release of China second-quarter GDP.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.47 percent in early trade as the benchmark index closed in on the 2,430 level. The Kospi stood at 2,425.65 at 8:10 a.m. HK/SIN.

Down under, the S&P/ASX 200 traded below the flat line, edging down by 0.35 percent.

Japan markets were closed for Marine Day.

Ahead, investors anticipated a barrage of China economic data due at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN. That included second-quarter GDP, industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investments.

The world's second-largest economy grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to a year earlier, above the 6.8 percent forecast.

Also on the economic calendar, Singapore June non-oil exports (NODX) data is due.

In currencies, the dollar was mostly flat after being dented by weaker-than-expected inflation data last Friday. The dollar index, which measures the dollar against a basket of currencies, traded at 95.096 at 7:55 a.m. HK/SIN. The dollar index traded as low as 95.088 in the Friday session compared to a high of 95.834.

Against the yen, the greenback was steady at 112.42 after sinking last Friday. The dollar had traded around the 113 handle for most of last week.

As the main hurdle to more tightening from the Federal Reserve, inflation is expected to play a decisive role in central bank policy and influence macro market direction this year, said OANDA senior trader Stephen Innes in a Monday morning note.

"With less than a 50 percent December rate hike probability priced in and with no supportive Fed speak on the calendar before July 26, the dollar could struggle," Innes added.

The Australian dollar traded at USD 0.7824 at 7:55 a.m. HK/SIN after climbing for five straight sessions last week.

Oil prices were moderately higher after settling up around 1 percent in the last session. Brent crude futures were up 0.18 percent at USD 49.00 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.15 percent to trade at USD 46.61.

In individual stocks, Hyundai was down 0.65 percent following news that unionized workers at the company had voted to go on strike in reaction to a breakdown in wage negotiations. This was the sixth consecutive year that workers have voted to strike, Reuters said.

In the US, stocks closed higher on Friday. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo kicked off earnings season by posting better-than-expected earnings.

US consumer prices were unchanged in June, data showed on Friday. The softer data led market watchers to believe the Federal Reserve could postpone hiking interest rates this year.
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