China shares gained Monday, while other Asian markets were choppy, after the world’s No. 2 economy expanded at its slowest pace since 2009 in the third quarter.
While the 6.9% growth rate for the latest quarter casts doubt on Beijing’s ability to meet its year-end target of about 7%, the results outpace expectations of 6.8%, according to economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. The economy grew at a reported 7% pace in the first two quarters of the year.
The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.7%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was flat.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was down 0.5%, but Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi was flat.
The Australian dollar rose to as high as $ 0.73, from $ 0.72 earlier in the day.
Data earlier also showed industrial output rising 5.7% year-over-year in September, missing the median 5.9% gain forecast by 12 economists in a Journal survey. The measure had increased 6.1% in August.
“As analyst reports drill down into the details [of Monday’s data], there’ll be questions asked about the industrial product figures” which could weigh on markets, said Evan Lucas, market strategist at brokerage IG.
He added that the stronger-than-expected growth number suggests that the People’s Bank of China is unlikely to ease monetary policy further in the near term, a move that has buoyed Chinese shares in recent weeks. The Shanghai Composite is up more than 15% from the nadir of its recent selloff on Aug. 26, as investors ramp up borrowing to buy stocks and expectations build for more government stimulus.
On Monday, China’s onshore yuan traded at its weakest level since late September against the U.S. dollar, which hit as high as 6.3662 yuan. Earlier, China’s central bank fixed the yuan at its weakest level this month, at 6.3527 to one U.S. dollar. The currency can trade 2% above or below that level.
The yield, which moves inversely to prices, for Chinese five-year government bonds rose to 3% from 2.94% Friday. It was last at 2.99%. The 10-year government bond yield jumped to 3.16%, the highest in a week, from 3.12% Friday.
Japan’s Nikkei, at 18,200, is barely off its highest levels in a month. Hopes for stimulus in Japan have supported shares, which are up roughly 8% from their recent low in late September. Japan also has faced a spate of disappointing economic data, with hints the economy could be at the brink of a recession.
Brent crude oil was down 0.2% at $ 50.38 a barrel in Asia. Oil prices recovered during U.S. trade Friday, mostly buoyed by lower drilling activity in the U.S.
Gold prices were down 0.7% at $ 1,174.70 a troy ounce.
U.S. stocks rose to complete a third straight week of gains on Friday, as the first batch of third-quarter results were broadly well-received by investors.
Write to Chao Deng at [email protected]