Asia stocks trade higher as China says its economy grew 6.6pct in 2018

22-Jan-2019 Intellasia | CNBC | 6:00 AM Print This Post

* Asia Pacific markets traded higher as investors digested the release of important Chinese economic data that would provide further insight into the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

* China’s economic growth came in at 6.6 percent in 2018 the slowest pace since 1990. That was in line with expectations from economists polled by Reuters.

Asia Pacific markets traded higher Monday morning as investors digested the release of official Chinese data that said the world’s second-largest economy grew 6.6 percent in 2018 the slowest pace since 1990.

That number matched expectations and was down from a revised 6.8 percent in 2017. Fourth quarter GDP growth was 6.4 percent, which was also in line with expectations.

While Beijing’s official GDP figures are seen as one of the crucial indicators of China’s economic health, many outside experts have expressed skepticism about the veracity of the numbers.

Raymond Yeung, chief economist for Greater China at the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, wrote in a note that China’s GDP numbers are “not an accurate gauge” of its economic growth. Still, he pointed out, the gap between the actual figures and the official targets usually shapes the government’s policy stance.

“Falling producer prices and new export orders point to a slowdown in China’s growth momentum,” Yeung added. “To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2019, President Xi (Jinping) will still likely launch growth-supportive policies.”

The mainland Chinese markets, closely watched as a result of the ongoing trade fight between Beijing and Washington, saw gains on the back of the data release. The Shanghai composite rose more than 0.7 percent while the Shenzhen component and Shenzhen composite both advanced more than 0.8 percent.

Rest of Asia gains

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.57 percent in morning trade while the Topix index rose 0.91 percent. Shares of automaker Nissan advanced almost 0.3 percent after details of former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s renewed bail request emerged.

In South Korea, however, the Kospi recovered from earlier losses to trade largely flat. Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 rose more than 0.3 percent, with most sectors seeing gains.

Australian oil stocks rose as the energy subindex advanced 0.3 percent. Crude oil prices gained on Friday following news that China has put forward a plan to eliminate its trade surplus with the United States.


The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, changed hands at 96.274 after touching lows below 95.5 last week.

The Japanese yen, widely seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 109.61 after seeing highs around the 108 handle in the previous week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7167 after touching highs above $0.72 last week.


Category: FinanceAsia

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