Asian stocks are mixed on Tuesday morning (16/05). Positive sentiments are brought about by the rising crude oil price and the positive performance of US stocks overnight. However, there is also some concern about the global WannaCry "ransomware" cyber attack that may be linked to North Korea, while the latest data from China confirm that China's growth momentum continues to moderate.
The rising crude oil price is boosting the performance of energy and commodity-linked stocks. Oil is now extending its five-day rally after Saudi Arabia and Russia expressed their intention to extend the oil production cap until March 2018. Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Energy Minister, and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak met on Monday in Beijing, China.
In late 2016 the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had already agreed to cut output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017. However, this did not lead to a significantly rising oil price. Whether the new agreement will manage to boost oil prices structurally will also depend on shale oil production in the USA and global oil demand.
Meanwhile, US stocks performed well overnight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped its losing streak, while the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite both closed at record highs. US stocks benefited from the higher oil price and technology stocks (for example FireEye) actually enjoyed an extra lift from the "WannaCry" cyberattack.
However, there has emerged some confusion whether US President Donald Trump, last week, gave visiting Russian officials details of intelligence on ISIS and on a plot to blow up planes using laptops, information that is not shared by the USA with its allies.
However, the release of a batch of poor activity and spending data in China on Monday (15/05) causes some concern as it may point at a consumer-led slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. China's industrial production expanded by 6.5 percent year-on-year (y/y) in April 2017, down from 7.6 percent (y/y) in the preceding month and falling notably short of expectations, while China's fixed investment data suggest a slowdown to 8.3 percent in April from 9.4 percent the previous month. Meanwhile, the nation's retail sales and fixed asset investment also failed to meet analysts' forecasts.
However, while Chinese markets managed to rise on Monday (despite the bleak economic data), they fell on Tuesday. Analysts say this could be related to the end of the "Belt and Road Initiative" summit.
Meanwhile, Symantec and Kaspersky Lab said the global WannaCry "ransomware" cyber attack includes some code that had also appeared in programs used by the Lazarus Group, a group that has been identified as a North Korea-run hacking operation. After the new missile test of North Korea over the weekend, this alleged link heightens ongoing tensions surrounding North Korea.
Indonesia's benchmark Jakarta Composite Index was 0.09 percent in the red by 09:50 am local Jakarta time on Tuesday, while the Indonesian rupiah had not moved by the same time, remaining at IDR 13,303 per US dollar.