Asian stocks were mixed on Friday, after Chinese government data showed producer prices have started to rise for the first time in over four years.
Jubilation about the figures, which were accompanied by better-than-expected consumer price numbers, swept away angst triggered on Thursday by weak September imports and exports in China, and instantly boosted the Australian dollar.
The National Bureau of Statistics said producer prices rose by 0.1% on the year after a 0.8% monthly decline in August, which was already the lowest deflation rate since April 2012. The consensus forecast for the September figure was for a 0.3% year-on-year price drop.
Meanwhile, consumer price inflation rose to 1.9% in September from 1.3% in August, better than the 1.6% median expectation as food-price growth accelerated. On the month, consumer prices rose by 0.7%, well above the 0.3% expected.
The numbers bolstered shares across the region, though mainland Chinese indices were largely down.
"Looking ahead, we think producer price inflation will recover further given a more flattering base for comparison from the drop in commodity prices late last year. That said, persistent oversupply in large parts of industry means that significant price pressures are unlikely to develop. Meanwhile, we expect consumer price inflation to remain near current levels over the course of the next year or so," said Capital Economics' Julian Evans-Pritchard.
As in most major economic blocs, Chinese price growth remains well under the official target, which is about 3%.
In Hong Kong the Hang Seng was recently up 0.58% at 23,164.65. In Japan the Nikkei 225 closed up 0.49% at 16,856.37 and the Topix was up 0.36% at 1,347.19. The CSI 300 on mainland China was down 0.23% at 3,295.02.
Dow Jones futures were recently unchanged, the S&P 500 mini was up 0.02%, and the Nasdaq 100 mini was up 0.03%.
The Australian dollar was recently up 0.13% at $0.7579 having given up some of its earlier gains.
Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing (FRCOY) was up 5% in Japan after it forecast 38% growth in operating profit in the fiscal year ending next February.
SoftBank Group (SFBTF) rose 3.3% after it unveiled a technology fund with Saudi Arabia worth up to $100 billion.
Sinochem International was up almost 9% in China after Reuters report that its state-controlled parent may enter a $100 billion merger with ChemChina, which is working to close a $43 billion offer for Switzerland's Syngenta. A ChemChina spokesperson told Reuters "There is no such thing," when asked about the merger.
Brent crude was recently up 0.12% at $52.14 a barrel.
Spot gold was down 0.24% at $1,255.04 an ounce.