Investing.com -- Most Asian stock markets retreated on Monday as investors hunkered down before a string of Chinese economic readings, while monetary policy signals from a slew of Federal Reserve speakers were also on tap later in the week.
China’s Shanghai Composite index was the worst performer for the day, down 1.1% as local industrial, shipping, and media stocks logged steep losses amid waning optimism over an economic recovery in the country.
The blue-chip Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index fell 0.4%, with investors now awaiting industrial production , retail sales and fixed asset investment data from China, due on Tuesday. While the data is expected to reflect some improvement in April from the prior month, it also comes after a string of Chinese economic readings missed expectations for the month.
Weakness in China soured sentiment towards broader Asian markets, given the country’s role as a major trading hub for the region. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat on Monday, while South Korea’s KOSPI and the Taiwan Weighted index lost 0.3% each.
Australia’s ASX 200 lost 0.1% as data showing a continued decline in building approvals pointed to continued weakness in the country’s housing market, which in turn weighed on heavyweight bank stocks.
Regional markets took a weak lead-in from Wall Street following softer-than-expected consumer sentiment data on Friday, which pointed to slowing growth as the world’s largest economy grapples with high interest rates and sticky inflation.
Focus this week is now on U.S. industrial production and retail sales data for more cues on the world’s largest economy. Markets are also awaiting a barrage of Fed speakers this week, most notably Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Friday, for more insight into monetary policy, amid growing expectations that the Fed will keep rates higher for longer.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was the sole outlier for the day, rising 0.7% as softer-than-expected producer inflation data pointed to less pressure on the Bank of Japan to tighten policy this year. Sentiment towards Japan was also aided by a stellar first-quarter earnings season.
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