Asia stocks decline after China reports weak trade data; Japan and Australia fall more than 2 percent

Image result for Asia stocks decline after China reports weak trade data; Japan and Australia fall more than 2 percentStocks in Asia traded lower Monday afternoon following significantly weaker-than-expected Chinese trade data released over the weekend.

The mainland Chinese markets, closely watched as a result of the trade war between Beijing and Washington, slipped by the end of the morning session. The Shanghai composite declined by 0.84 percent while the Shenzhen composite shed 1.146 percent.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.41 percent as Hong Kong-listed shares of China Construction Bank slipped 2 percent and Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent lost 1.35 percent.

Chinese November trade data dwindles

China reported notably weaker than expected November exports and imports, which pointed to slower global and domestic demand and raised the possibility that Beijing may undertake more measures to boost growth.

November exports rose 5.4 percent from a year earlier, according to Chinese customs data on Saturday, which was below the 10 percent jump predicted by a Reuters poll. That number was also the weakest performance since a 3 percent contraction in March. The customs data showed that annual growth for exports to all of China’s major partners slowed significantly.

Import growth was 3 percent, the slowest since October 2016, and a fraction of the 14.5 percent expected in the Reuters poll. Imports of iron ore fell for a second time, reflecting waning restocking demand at steel-mills as profit margins narrow.

“China’s November trade data missed expectations by a hefty margin,” said analysts from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a morning note.

“Softer export growth reflects slower global growth and the fading effect of US importers’ front‑loading shipments to avoid increases in tariffs. Falling import growth points to softening domestic demand. But we expect Chinese fiscal stimulus to support imports in 2019,” they said.

Rest of Asia mostly declines

Elsewhere in the region, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2.23 percent in afternoon trade while the Topix index dropped 1.95 percent.

Shares of Japan Display plunged more than 9 percent in the afternoon after the company earlier said it had no plans to cut production of its smartphone panels in December, following reports that it was planning to do so. Electronics firm Pioneer plummeted 28.41 percent on the back of its acquisition by Baring Private Equity Asia.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi also slipped around 1.3 percent, with shares of chipmaker SK Hynix dropping 2.4 percent.

Over in Australia, the ASX 200 fell 2.25 percent in afternoon trade, with almost all sectors seeing losses.

The financial subindex Down Under fell 3.05 percent as shares of Australia’s so-called Big Four Banks declined. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group dropped more than 3.7 percent and Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 2.87 percent. Westpac slipped 3.3 percent and National Australia Bank was down 2.79 percent.

“Geo-Political issues once again look set to influence markets this week when traditionally traders expect a slow down as we head into Christmas market trading conditions,” said Rakuten Securities Australia in a note.

“Sentiment is once again expected to dominate direction as we move through today’s trading sessions and traders will be keeping a close eye on news wires for any changes in the current situation on a variety of issues,” they said.


Understanding How Millennials Respond To Your Marketing Efforts

How do you market to a generation that lives and works differently than any other generation before it? That’s the challenge that digital marketers are currently facing when it comes to grabbing the attention of the generation known as Gen Y, the selfie generation, the always-on generation or, the term most commonly used, millennials.

The Generation X is characterized by its strong work ethic, sound decision making and stability. Those qualities made marketing to Gen Xers easy. Millennials, on the other hand, have left marketers wondering how to grab the attention of a population that has their heads stuck in their electronic devices. But what seems to be a social faux pas is actually an asset in marketing. I’ve learned that the key to marketing to millennials is learning more about how they think and respond to ads.

Here’s what we know about millennials.

The millennial generation was born between approximately 1980 and 2000. Millennials are expected to be America’s largest generation by 2019, which means they make up a fair share of the marketing audience. Millennials started using technology the minute they could walk and talk. While some aspects of technology are foreign to other generations, it’s second nature to the selfie generation.

Society has also labeled millennials as being entitled, impatient and more likely to expect immediate gratification. But perhaps what is less known about millennials is that they’re a socially conscious bunch. They’re happy to pay companies more if they’re local or support a green economy.

Millennials shop differently than past generations.

In marketing to millennials, I’ve often had to remind myself that they’ve grown up in harsher economic times than Gen Xers. Millennials have a lower median income and less disposable income than past generations. They’ve learned how to live well on less, and that makes their shopping habits much different from their predecessors.

The millennial generation knows how to take advantage of technology to get the best quality for the best price. They’re masters at showrooming, finding what they need in brick-and-mortar stores and then searching for the best deals online. Millennials are adept at finding discounts, using coupons and getting free shipping.

Branding is important to millennials, but price sometimes overshadows it. A meaningful loyalty program often helps them overcome concerns about higher priced brands. Millennials consider options carefully before they’re willing to spend their money. They’re not likely to buy into flashy, self-promotional ads. If you want to earn millennial trust, you have to be authentic.

I’ve also learned that millennials are social media mavens. Social media ads, comments and reviews highly influence them, especially when the ads are relevant. When they have a great experience with a product or service, they’re happy to let their peers know about it on social media. The same is also true if they have a negative experience.

Understand what does and doesn’t work when marketing to millennials.

Before I discuss marketing strategies that do work for millennials, I want to review what doesn’t work: showy online ads for the random sale of the week. Such ads are too irrelevant and impersonal to attract the Gen Y consumer’s attention. Marketers can use better approaches to motivate them to stop scrolling and start clicking.

Millennials have caught on to the idea that most stores will price match, so they have come to expect it. If a millennial holds up a cellphone boasting a competitor ad for the same product or service that you’re offering, be prepared to offer the same deal.

They’re an entrepreneurial population that takes delight in supporting local businesses. They’ve been brought up learning about things like global warming and preserving natural resources. As a result, they’re committed to preserving the world’s natural resources. Businesses that actively support and promote a greener economy will get millennials to take a breather from scrolling and learn more about what the company has to offer.

Millennials won’t be caught without multiple mobile devices, so marketers need to ensure that their ads display clearly on all mobile devices. Digital marketers will find greater power in social media because most millennials pull it up before they brush their teeth in the morning. It’s where they go to find the best promotions and discounts. They also hit up social media when they need immediate customer service or to leave fast feedback on purchases.

If you want to get a millennial’s attention at just the right time, remarketing lists for shopping ads (RLSAs) are the way to go. These ads appear based on the pages that consumers have previously browsed. Seeing ads multiple times when they’re actively shopping creates a more personal connection. Chances are good that they’ll add the item to their shopping cart or click to get more information.

Evolve your marketing strategy as your audience evolves.

As you look toward the future of marketing, the only thing that you can be certain of is that your audience is bound to change. When you learn what makes a new generation tick, it’s far easier to evolve your marketing strategy to ignite a spark that gets them to click.


Asia markets fall; Xi speech tries to position China as globalization champion

Image result for Asia markets fall; Xi speech tries to position China as globalization championAsia Pacific markets traded mostly lower on Monday as investors remained cautious over global growth prospects while Chinese President Xi Jinping tried to position China as a globalization champion in a major speech.

Xi’s opening speech kicked off the week-long China International Import Expo that seeks to promote the world’s second largest economy as a major consumer of global goods. The event, announced more than a year ago, will stand in contrast to the ongoing trade fight between Beijing and Washington.

During the speech, Xi repeated his rhetoric against protectionism and promoted his country as an advocate for international openness and cooperation. He discussed at length about the benefits of an open international economy and said that China is pursuing “a new round of high-standard opening up” to broaden market access to the rest of the world.

The United States has levied tariffs on an extensive list of Chinese products. Beijing, for its part, unsuccessfully tried to negotiate on tariffs by offering to buy more U.S. goods, but ultimately responded with duties on products from the U.S.

The impact of the ongoing trade war is being felt as companies report higher production costs and trim outlook. On Friday, Chinese tech giant Alibaba lowered its full-year sales forecast, citing concerns about the economic impact of the trade war.

Xi’s speech at the expo comes a day before Americans head to the polls for midterm elections.

Asia Pacific markets

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 344.67 points, or 1.55 percent, to 21,898.99 while the Topix index declined 18.37 points, or 1.11 percent, to 1,640.39. South Korea’s Kospi was down 19.08 points, or 0.91 percent, at 2,076.92.

Chinese shares traded lower. The Shanghai composite declined 11.04 points, or 0.41 percent, to 2,665.43 while the Shenzhen composite closed fractionally lower at 1,351. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 2.08 percent in afternoon trade.

The on-shore yuan traded at 6.9203 to the dollar Monday afternoon while the off-shore yuan fetched 6.9161. China’s central bank set the yuan mid-point at 6.8976 against the greenback — the People’s Bank of China allows the exchange rate for the on-shore yuan to rise or fall 2 percent from the official midpoint rate set every morning.

Australia’s ASX 200 struggled for gains, finishing down 31.10 points, or 0.53 percent, at 5,818.10 as most sectors declined. The energy sector fell 1.31 percent as oil stocks mostly sold off. Shares of Santos fell 1.55 percent, Oil Search was down 1.31 percent and Woodside Petroleum declined 2.28 percent.

Iran sanctions and central banks

Oil prices will be closely watched as U.S. on Monday reimposed oil and financial sanctions on Iran, ratcheting up the pressure on Tehran to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities.

Iran said it plans to defy the newly reimposed U.S. sanctions and continue selling its oil in the international market.

Last week, reports said that President Donald Trump’s administration will grant eight jurisdictions special exceptions to continue importing oil from Tehran, with the idea that they will gradually reduce their purchases over time. Oil prices fell last Friday on the back of that news as investors remained concerned about oversupply in the market.

U.S. crude traded down 0.52 percent at $62.81 a barrel Monday afternoon while global benchmark Brent was down 0.3 percent at $72.61.

Central banks in the United States, Australia and New Zealand are set to meet this week.

“There is not expected to be any change in policy from either central bank. But we continue to expect the Fed to lift interest rates 25 bpts in December to 2.50 (percent),” Richard Grace, chief currency strategist and head of international economics at the Commonwealth Bank, wrote in a morning note.

Slowing global growth remains a concern for investors — last month, the International Monetary Fund cut global growth forecast, citing trade tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners.

There have been other indications of a slowdown in growth momentum, including a decline in Purchasing Managers Indexes, an indicator of economic health in the manufacturing and services sectors, across much of Asia, according to Felicity Emmett from ANZ Research.

“In an environment of cooling growth and declining liquidity, market volatility seems unlikely to decline to the soporific days of old any time soon,” Emmett said in a morning note.

Currency markets

In the currency market, the dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of its peers, traded at 96.431, retreating from an earlier high of 96.519.

The British pound traded at $1.3004, up from levels around $1.2800 in the previous week. The gains followed a local newspaper report that suggested Prime Minister Theresa May has secured a Brexit deal with Brussels that will allow Britain to stay in a customs union and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.

But Reuters reported that May’s office has dismissed the report as “speculation.”


Risk-sensitive currencies hurt by struggling equities – Westpac

Analysts at Westpac noted that Asia’s negative equity mood Friday continued into London and NY trade, weighing on risk-sensitive currencies.

Story image for Currencies from FXStreet

“AUD/USD slipped under 0.7220. Commodities were mostly weaker, with oil at a 7 month low, though iron ore outperformed. Sterling weakened on renewed Brexit jitters. Today’s calendar is low key, including a partial US holiday.

The US dollar was generally stronger. EUR/USD slipped from 1.1360 to 1.1315 and USD/CAD rose above 1.32. USD/JPY followed US bond yields and equities lower, from 114 in the Sydney morning to lows under 113.70.

AUD/USD reached its Friday highs around 0.7270 just ahead of the RBA quarterly statement, which wasn’t quite as bullish as expected. It steadied around 0.7240 in London, then slipped with US stocks to around 0.7220. NZD fell from 0.6755 to 0.6735. AUD/NZD is -0.2% over the full trading day, around 1.0720.

GBP/USD edged down from 1.3060 Friday morning to around 1.2980 at Friday’s NY close, then started the week in Sydney around 1.2920. It may have been undermined by weekend Brexit headlines. The Sunday Times claimed that four ministers who oppose Brexit are on the verge of quitting.

On Friday, UK data was mostly solid, but GDP showed some concerning details. The Sep trade deficit was narrower than expected, production levels were close to expectations (industrial flat on the month, manufacturing +0.2%) and Q3 GDP met expectations of +0.6%q/q. Net exports provided a GDP boost. However, the key issue was the sharp fall in business investment (-1.2%q/q, exp. +0.2%), which clearly shows that Brexit uncertainty is now undermining investment, as officials have feared.”