Asian stocks fluctuated, with commodity producers leading gains after oil and iron ore surged amid speculation Chinese stimulus will boost demand for raw materials. Equities fell in Tokyo as the yen strengthened.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.2 percent to 126.06 as of 9:31 a.m. in Tokyo, after gaining 0.2 percent earlier. Commodities have been boosted by prospects China will boost efforts to right its economy after leaders at the weekend said they’re planning a record-high budget deficit amid expectations growth will slow in 2016. The European Central Bank also is forecast to deliver monetary easing measures this week.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 percent, while New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index lost 0.3 percent.
Japan’s Topix slipped 0.6 percent as the yen strengthened against the dollar and revised data showed the nation’s economy shrank an annualized 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, better than economists’ projections for a 1.5 percent contraction a previously reported 1.4 percent. It is the second contraction in three quarters.