Asian stocks rise as data shows China’s economy grew as expected

Asian markets rose on Friday, as the release of China’s gross domestic product (GDP) numbers showed growth was in line with analyst expectations.

Chinese markets rose initially following the release of those numbers, but fell again by the close. The Shanghai composite traded flat to close at 3,075.50, while the Shenzhen composite fell 0.29% to 1,806.28. The Shenzhen component inched down 0.12% to 10,954.39.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched down in its final hour of trade.

China’s GDP numbers which came in on Friday largely met analyst expectations. It announced its economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, meeting expectations even amid a trade dispute with the U.S. Its GDP grew 6.0% on-year in the fourth quarter of 2019.

That’s unchanged from the pace in the third quarter, which was believed to be its slowest GDP gain in at least 27½ years.

China’s growth has been hit by the trade dispute with the U.S., among other factors. But both giants signed a “phase one” deal this week, which included some tariff relief. Data earlier this week also showed that the country’s exports rose for the first time in five months in December, and its imports beat estimates.

Following the release of the GDP data, the Chinese yuan, which has been appreciating amid trade optimism, strengthened further. The offshore yuan last traded at 6.8628, as compared to 6.8751 seen earlier. The onshore yuan strengthened to below the 6.86 level where it was earlier, to last trade at 6.8577.

“China’s economy has stabilised, for now, and alongside the phase one US-China trade deal that represents good news for the global economy,” wrote Tom Rafferty, principal economist for China, at The Economist Intelligence Unit on Friday.

But he added: “While businesses and investors can afford to breath a sign of relief, after a difficult 2019, we still see risks to the China outlook as mainly weighted to the downside, given the fragile nature of the trade truce and the risks that still stalk China’s financial markets.”

source: CNBC