Most Asian stock markets rose today on news Chinese factory gate prices rose for the first time in more than four years, while Thai stocks rallied on news of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's death, with analysts saying a sell-off this week was overdone. Beijing said the producer price index increased last month after 54 consecutive months of falling, beating estimates for a drop and providing some much-needed hope for the Chinese economy a day after market-sapping trade figures. Chinese firms have for years been battered by falling prices for their goods in the face of chronic overcapacity and weak demand, putting a damper on growth in a key driver of the world economy. Consumer prices also rose more than expected. "The end of PPI deflation is a good signal for the economy's stabilisation," Gao Yuwei, a researcher at Bank of China in Beijing, told Bloomberg News. "PPI is expected to be remain expansionary in the coming months." Traders around Asia broadly welcomed the news on the world's number two economy and key driver of global expansion, which is struggling with a years-long fight against slowing growth. Hong Kong added 0.6 per cent by lunch and Sydney -- where several firms with close ties to China are listed -- gained 0.1 per cent, while Seoul was up 0.6 per cent. Tokyo added 0.2 per cent.
However, Shanghai eased 0.5 per cent on worries the data will give the Chinese central bank reason to hold off any stimulus measures. In Bangkok the Stock Exchange of Thailand soared 3.7 per cent at the open, paring huge losses built up through the week as news filtered out that the king was gravely ill. The baht climbed more than one per cent against the dollar. The baht lost around three per cent this week as investors grew uneasy about political and economic stability after the death of the monarch who reigned for seven decades. While he wielded no official power, Bhumibol was seen as a uniting force in a fractured nation where political tensions are still raw two years after a military coup. However, analysts said the king's death had been priced into the market and investors were now rushing in for bargain stocks, while attention will now be on the succession process for his son. "Thailand's economic fundamentals remain unaffected, which should help it to weather this storm," Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based strategist at IG Asia Pte, said before the announcement. "The military government, which has overseen the economy during a period of increasing (economic) growth, could help to guide the country through the period." And Margaret Yang, an analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, added: "Eventually smart money will flow in to support the market." In Seoul, Samsung Electronics rose almost one per cent as investors brushed off its warning that it expects another USD 3 billion-plus hit to profit over the next two quarters owing to the impact of its exploding Note 7 crisis. It said it hoped a pick-up sales of its other flagship handset would help cushion the impact.
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