Asia shares retreat from two-month high on China concerns | Reuters

TOKYO Asian shares stepped back further from two-month highs on Wednesday as a retreat in oil prices and weak Chinese trade data revived concerns about the health of the global economy.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.2 percent in early trade, shedding 1.4 percent from its two-month high hit on Monday. Japan's Nikkei .N225 fell 1.0 percent in morning trade.

"Although oil prices have risen sharply from the trough, many investors are not yet convinced if things have improved that much and I suspect they judged now is a good time to sell," said Tatsushi Maeno, managing director of PineBridge Investments.

"But I do believe that this year the global economy will prove better than last year," he added.

U.S. stocks also ended near the day's lows on Tuesday as energy shares tumbled, losing steam after hitting a two-month high on Friday.

S&P 500 Index .SPX lost 1.12 percent to 1,979.26 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq .IXIC dropped 1.26 percent to 4,648.83.

The reversal came as oil prices fell about 3 percent on Tuesday, ending six days of gains for benchmark Brent crude futures, following industry data showing U.S. stockpiles reached record highs again last week.

Brent LCOc1 settled down 2.9 percent at $39.65 a barrel after hitting a 2016 high of $41.48 earlier on Tuesday. Despite the day's decline, it was up 46 percent from a 12-year low of $27.10 struck on Jan. 20.

Also casting a shadow on markets, China's February trade performance was far worse than economists had expected, with exports tumbling the most in over six years.

Exports dived 25.4 percent from a year earlier on depressed demand in all of China's major markets, while imports slumped 13.8 percent, the 16th straight month of decline.

The data did not bode well for many companies that have relied on strong growth in the world's second largest economy, with the energy and material sector at the top of the list.

Against this grim backdrop, assets that are perceived to be safe fared batter.

The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield US10YT=RR fell back to 1.827 percent, erasing its gains made after Friday's payrolls data.

That in turn dented the dollar's attraction against other major currencies.

The dollar's index against a basket of six major currencies .DXY =USD stood at 97.245, having slipped to a two-week low of 96.887 on Tuesday.

The yen JPY= rose to one-week high of 112.42 to the dollar on Tuesday and last stood at 112.68, a gain of 1 percent so far this week.

The euro EUR= rose to $1.1058 on Tuesday, its highest in more than a week. It has since eased to around $1.1001, little changed on the week, ahead of the European central Bank's policy meeting on Thursday.

Financial markets expect the ECB to cut its deposit rate by at least 10 basis points and expand its asset-buying programme. However, with so much already priced in, some traders are primed for a repeat of the sharp gains in the euro seen in December when the ECB's measures fell short of market expectations.

Ahead of the ECB, the Bank of Canada will announce its policy decision later in the day.

The Canadian dollar has rallied almost 10 percent from its 12-1/2-year low since the central bank surprised markets by not cutting rates at its last meeting on Jan 20.

The Canadian dollar traded at C$1.3430 per U.S. dollar CAD=D4, off its three-month high of C$1.3263 hit on Monday.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Mar 09, 2016 07:15 AM

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