HONG KONG: Manufacturing data painted a mixed picture of economic activity in Asia, with strong currencies hurting exporters in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, while China surprisingly showed resilience amid fears tighter regulations may slow growth.
The Lunar New Year holidays disrupted activity, suggesting that the slowdown in some of the economies could be temporary.
There were worries remained that the dollar's broad weakness could hinder the regions export-driven economies, though manufacturing surveys in the United States and Europe were expected to confirm the strong momentum in global trade.
Also, the full impact of China's crackdown on risky financing is likely yet to be seen.
Japanese manufacturing expanded at a slightly slower pace in February as a stronger yen weighed on new export orders and Taiwan's factory growth was the slowest in four months, although both economies still posted relatively solid numbers.
South Korea's export growth slowed in February to its weakest in more than a year.
"For Asia, the strength of the currencies will have some impact but generally how growth in the G3 economies fares is more important," said Khoon Goh, Head of Asia Research at ANZ.
"We should continue to see a strong momentum in exports going into the second half, when base effects come into play," Goh said, cautioning against reading too much into the holiday-distorted numbers.