Asian markets lower on continuing European concerns; China CPI reaches 6.1%

<p>Asian markets were mostly lower after Spain’s credit rating was downgraded early in the session. Economic news was dominated by China’s inflation reading, which came […]</p>

Asian markets were mostly lower after Spain’s credit rating was downgraded early in the session. Economic news was dominated by China’s inflation reading, which came in line with market expectations. Consumer prices increased 6.1% in September from a year earlier, led by a jump in food costs, the National Bureau of Statistics said today.

The Shanghai Composite Index slid more than 1% at noon local time break in trading. The yuan was little changed at 6.3815 per dollar in Shanghai.

Economic news was also dominated by Singapore’s growth projections, with a cut in official estimates. GDP might grow by only 5% this year, compared with an earlier forecast range of 5% to 6%, the trade ministry said in a statement today.

The Singapore central bank, which uses the island’s dollar as its main tool to manage inflation, said it will reduce the pace at which the currency strengthens.

Australian markets were down by just under 1% with corporate news very quiet. Material stocks led the market lower. Listed construction group Leighton Holdings announced it has secured a US$519m crude oil contract in Iraq, continuing its recent streak in winning work across the Middle East.

While Iraqi contracts have been difficult to manage for other large multi-national groups in Iraq over recent years, Leighton is well placed to continue winning work in the country should it execute this contract successfully. Leighton shares were 1.8% lower at the close of trade.

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