TOKYO — Shares were mostly higher in Europe and Asia on Wednesday, lifted by upbeat manufacturing data from China and Japan. The U.S. dollar was steady, regaining some lost ground after falling on comments by President Donald Trump accusing China and Japan of manipulating their currencies.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX climbed 0.8 percent to 11,629.09 and the CAC40 of France also rose 0.8 percent to 4,785.37. Britain’s FTSE 100 jumped 1.0 percent to 7,168.79. Wall Street looked headed for gains, with Dow and S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.
FACTORY OUTLOOK: Chinese manufacturing expanded in January at close to its fastest pace in two years as heavy government spending and a bank lending boom helped to keep economic activity steady headed into 2017, a survey showed Wednesday. A similar survey in Japan showed manufacturing at its highest level in nearly three years, with strong new orders and confidence in the outlook for the coming year. “Reports of an increase in foreign demand were also backed by the survey data, with new export orders rising at the quickest rate in one year,” IHS Markit said in its Japan Nikkei Manufacturing PMI report.
CURRENCIES: Officials in Tokyo rejected Trump’s complaints that their policies were aimed at keeping the yen artificially low to help Japanese exports. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to meet with Trump in Washington on Feb. 10, and he said during a parliamentary committee hearing that Japan plans to explain its stance on the issue. After Trump’s comments, the dollar weakened sharply against the yen, but it rebounded later. By late afternoon it was trading at 113.38 yen, up from its previous close of 112.94 yen. The euro rose to $1.0793 from $1.0695.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent to 19,148.08 and the Kospi in South Korea jumped 0.6 percent to 2,080.48. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 5,653.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 23,318.39. The Sensex in India rose 1.4 percent to 28,033.43. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher. Markets in China and Taiwan were closed for the lunar new year holiday.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil gained 10 cents to $52.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 18 cents to $52.81 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, lost 2 cents to $55.56 a barrel.