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Asia report: Markets mixed as China GDP grows faster in Q4

By Josh White

Date: Monday 17 Jan 2022

Asia report: Markets mixed as China GDP grows faster in Q4

(Sharecast News) - Markets were mixed at the end of Monday in Asia, as investors digested data showing China's economy grew quicker than anticipated in the December quarter.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.74% at 28,333.52, as the yen weakened 0.25% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 114.48.

It was a positive day for the benchmark's major components, with automation specialist Fanuc up 0.9%, fashion firm Fast Retailing rising 1.86%, and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group 0.6% firmer.

The broader Topix index advanced 0.46% by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,986.71.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was 0.58% firmer at 3,541.67, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite jumped 1.54% to 2,473.01.

Fresh data out of Beijing showed China's economy growing 8.1% in 2021, which was below the 8.4% gain pencilled in by market participants.

For the fourth quarter, however, gross domestic product expanded by 4% on a year-on-year basis in the People's Republic, which was ahead of the 3.6% expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

"The slower yearly growth was broad based across sectors, though slightly more pronounced in the secondary sector - chiefly manufacturing," said Pantheon Macroeconomics chief China economist Craig Botham.

"Yet on a quarterly basis, manufacturing led the fourth quarter bounce.

"Real GDP by industry is not yet available, but the nominal data show 14.2% quarter-on-quarter growth in the secondary sector, after a 1% decline in the third quarter, against little acceleration in the primary and tertiary sectors."

Botham said China's manufacturers had benefited from the restoration of electricity supply, which was "hugely disruptive" in the third quarter, as well as continued resilience in external demand, reflected by December's record trade surplus.

"Further granularity, as ever, is lacking for now.

"But the monthly data provide some additional hints."

South Korea's Kospi lost 1.09% to 2,890.10, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was 0.68% weaker at 24,218.03.

The blue-chip technology stocks were mixed in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics up 0.26%, while SK Hynix slid 1.17%.

Oil prices were lower at the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude last up 0.28% at $85.82 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate ahead 0.07% at $83.76.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 grew 0.32% to 7,417.30, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 managed gains of 0.135 to 12,806.90.

The down under dollars were both stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.22% at AUD 1.3836, and the Kiwi advancing 0.07% to NZD 1.4676.

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