Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were down on Wednesday morning as investors digested weaker-than-expected Chinese data. They also await the impact of lower-than-expected U.S. inflation figures on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s timeline to begin asset tapering.
China’s Shanghai Composite slid 1.42% by 10:18 PM ET (2:18 AM GMT) and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.73%. The country released its latest economic data earlier in the day that showed industrial production grew a lower-than-expected 5.3% year-on-year, while fixed-asset investment grew 8.9% year-on-year, in August. Retail sales grew 2.5% year on year.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.79%.
In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 0.55%.
Meanwhile, efforts to curb the latest COVID-19 outbreak in China’s Fujian province continue, and the latest regulatory tightening and China Evergrande Group’s (HK:3333) debt situation also remain on investors’ radars.
Meanwhile, U.S. data released on Tuesday showed that the core consumer price index (CPI) grew 4% year-on-year and 0.1% month-on-month in August. The data also showed that the CPI grew 5.3% year-on-year and 0.3% month-on-month respectively.
The smaller-than-expected figures lent support to the argument that current inflationary pressures could be temporary, but still left the overall picture undecided.
Investors are now looking to whether the latest figures will prompt the Fed to begin asset tapering, but concerns over the impact of COVID-19’s Delta variant on economic reopening remain. Fund managers are less optimistic about global growth and earnings but unwilling to give up on stocks, according to the latest Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) survey.
Some were not convinced that inflationary pressures will be transitory.
“It is hard to argue at this point that it remains entirely transitory…. you couple that with that fact that there are still all these supply shocks that we are still working through. I think the markets are going to have to feel the pain,” Envestnet (NYSE:ENV) Inc. co-chief investment officer Dana D’Auria told Bloomberg.
Other items on investors’ radars as 2021 heads into its final quarter include the ongoing debate around the U.S. debt ceiling, U.S. President Joe Biden’s tax package, infrastructure spending and the Fed’s asset tapering, she added.