Shares in Asia overcame news of higher-than-expected inflationary data in China and lower-than-expected liquidity data in Japan to finish higher Monday. Markets in Hong Kong were closed for a religious holiday.The Japanese Nikkei finished 88 points, or 0.6% higher, at 13,743.36, and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 13 points, or 0.4%, at 3626.98. Chinese consumer price inflation rose 8.5% in April vs. expectations of 8.2%. The number is the second-highest in 2008, after February, where inflation increased 8.7% as a result of snowstorms. Still, the country recorded a surplus of $16.7 billion vs. $13.4 billion in March, leading many economists to speculate that aggressive growth may offset soaring prices. "We have raised our 2008 GDP growth forecast from 9.5% to 9.8%," writes Lehmans analyst Mingchun Sun in a research note issued Monday in Hong Kong. "Strong domestic demand offsetting weaker external demand seems an ideal scenario for China against a backdrop of an unfolding global downturn."
China Watch: Know the Numbers Before You Buy