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Asian markets mostly up as China economy stabilises

HONG KONG (AFP) – 

Most Asian markets rose for a second day Wednesday as China said its economy expanded more than expected in the third quarter, bolstering hopes of stability in the key driver of global growth.

News that growth came in at 6.7 percent during July-September, beating a forecast in an AFP poll, will come as welcome relief as a years-long slowdown in the country has been a major drag on economies from Asia to the Americas.

“The general performance was better than expected,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. “The national economy grew steadily with progress made and quality improved.”

While the figure is within the government’s target of 6.5-7.0 percent for the year, that is about the same as last year, which was the slowest pace in a quarter of a century.

And analysts said that despite the broad gains across Asian markets, which were already in positive territory, there was little in the data to drive big moves.

“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 rates.”

Shanghai was up 0.3 percent but Hong Kong gave up 0.1 percent as a recent flood of cash from mainland investors reversed course.

– Dollar struggles –

Tokyo ended the morning session 0.1 percent higher, Sydney, where several listed firms have interests in China, rose 0.3 percent and Seoul was also 0.3 percent higher. Singapore put on 0.2 percent, Taipei added 0.7 percent and Manila gained one percent.

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

In other forex trade, the dollar struggled to recover from Tuesday’s losses as 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 fell against the yen and euro on Wednesday, while the pound — spurred by a two-year high reading on British inflation — was holding its own around $1.2300.

It also suffered selling against most high-yielding Asia-Pacific currencies, with the South Korean won up 0.7 percent and Indonesia’s rupiah gaining 0.2 percent. There were also healthy gains for Thailand’s baht and the Malaysian ringgit.

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.

– Key figures at 0230 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 16,987.16 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 23,366.03

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,091.73

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1000 from $1.0979 Tuesday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.77 yen from 103.87 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2300 from $1.2295

Euro/pound: UP at 89.39 pence from 89.29 pence

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 60 cents at $50.89 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 60 cents at $52.28

New York – DOW: UP 0.4 percent at 18,161,94 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 7,000.06 (close)

© 2016 AFP

Article source: http://www.france24.com/en/20161019-asian-markets-mostly-china-economy-stabilises