Chinese stocks were boosted by data showing the country’s factory activity recorded its strongest month in three years as global shares were on track to lock in their best month on record.
Mainland China’s CSI 300 index of Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stocks rose 1 per cent on Monday after activity in the country’s manufacturing and services sectors beat analysts’ expectations in November. The figures underscore the strength of the recovery in the world’s second-biggest economy from coronavirus.
The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index showed output from China’s factories grew at its quickest rate since 2017, while a gauge of services rose to an eight-year high.
A jump in new export orders “suggests that China’s exports continue to benefit from strong foreign demand for Chinese-made goods beyond Covid-19 related products”, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.
He added that household spending would continue to support the recovery in manufacturing, “which will continue to benefit too from supportive fiscal policy and strong foreign demand”.
However, shares in Chinese oil group Cnooc and chipmaker SMIC fell as much as 9.3 and 3.4 per cent, respectively, after Reuters reported that the two state-run companies would be added to a US investment blacklist for companies with alleged ties to China’s military.
Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region on Monday, Japan’s Topix index was down 0.6 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.2 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat.
Meanwhile, futures markets pointed to a pullback for US stocks when trading begins on Wall Street later on Monday, with the S&P 500 expected to edge down 0.2 per cent.
Global stocks are closing in on their best ever month, with investor appetite propelled by optimism over Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election and a string of coronavirus vaccine breakthroughs this month.
MSCI’s index of developed and emerging markets has risen almost 13 per cent this month and touched a record high on Friday.
In commodities, crude dropped after the Opec+ oil-producing nations failed to agree on whether to delay a planned output increase ahead of an important meeting on Monday. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 0.9 per cent to $47.73 a barrel.
Gold, which often serves as an investor haven during periods of uncertainty, fell 1 per cent to $1,769.56 per troy ounce. Monday’s fall takes the precious metal almost 6 per cent lower in November, marking its worst month in four years.