You are here

Asia: Stocks mostly up, but traders shrug at China GDP

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 16:10
5_10844735.15 (36314426) - 08_10_2015.jpg

[HONG KONG] Asian markets mostly rose on Wednesday but early gains were pared as dealers shrugged at news China's economy had stabilised in the third quarter.

News that China grew at 6.7 per cent during July-September, beating a forecast in an AFP poll, came as relief following a years-long slowdown in the country that has been a major drag on economies from Asia to the Americas.

While that figure is within the government's target of 6.5-7.0 per cent for the year, it compares to the 6.9 per cent annual rate in 2015, the slowest pace in a quarter of a century.

And analysts said there was little in the data to drive big moves and it would likely mean Beijing will hold off any fresh stimulus measures.

"China won't do anything new in terms of policy because the economy isn't sliding," Ben Kwong, a Hong Kong-based director at KGI Asia, told Bloomberg News.

"Under these conditions, the market doesn't really have a direction. It needs to wait for news on US (interest) rates." Shanghai ended flat and Hong Kong gave up 0.1 per cent in the afternoon.

However, Tokyo closed 0.2 per cent higher and Sydney - where several listed firms have interests in China - rose 0.5 per cent. Seoul was slightly higher, Singapore put on 0.2 per cent in late trade, Taipei added 0.7 per cent and Manila soared 1.8 per cent.

China's yuan benefited from the data release, climbing against the dollar for the first time in eight sessions.

The dollar struggled to recover from Tuesday's losses against the yen after dealers were left unimpressed by US inflation data that analysts said did nothing to strengthen the case for a US interest rate hike.

A below-forecast reading on producer inflation "was not sufficient to derail the prospects of a December Fed lift off, but certainly continues to support the gradual and flat pace of rate hikes into 2017", Stephen Innes, senior trader at Oanda, said in a note.

The dollar also suffered selling against most high-yielding Asia-Pacific currencies, with the South Korean won up 0.6 per cent and Indonesia's rupiah gaining 0.1 per cent. There were also healthy gains for Thailand's baht and the Malaysian ringgit.

However, it made inroads against the euro and pound, which rallied on Tuesday on a near two-year high reading on British inflation.

Forex traders will be keenly following a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday after recent speculation it is considering tapering its vast stimulus.

Despite the chatter, some analysts expect it to maintain its easing programme and possibly flag fresh measures in December.

AFP