Asian shares mixed as China reports economy slowed in 2Q

Business

Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 15, 2019. Shares are mixed in Asia, led by gains in Chinese markets after the government reported that the economy grew at the slowest pace in a decade in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed in Asia on Monday, with gains in Chinese markets on hopes for fresh stimulus measures after the government reported that the economy grew at the slowest pace in a decade in the last quarter.

Analysts said the 6.2% annual rate of growth reported for April-June suggests the trade war between the U.S. and China is hammering industries.

The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.4% to 2,942.19 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.2% to 28,536.36. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell 0.7% to 6,653.00 and in South Korea, the Kospi shed 0.2% to 2,082.48. India’s Sensex climbed 0.2% to 38,802.90. Japan’s markets were closed for a national holiday.

The growth data for China was the weakest since the first quarter of 2009, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Tariff hikes by President Donald Trump have battered Chinese as well as U.S. exporters, and Chinese leaders have increased spending and loosened controls on bank lending to keep growth within this year’s range of 6% to 6.5%.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in late June to restart talks on their stand-off over the longstanding U.S. trade deficit and Chinese economic policies the U.S. side says are unfair and violate market Beijing’s market opening commitments.

That truce is fragile, however, since the issues that caused talks to break down in May remain.

Since China is the biggest export customer for many of its neighbors and huge market for global suppliers of food, mobile phones and other goods, weaker growth is unwelcome. However, expectations for more government stimulus to combat the slowdown could drive share prices higher.

“We remain concerned about whether the credit expansion can boost real economic activities,” Raymond Yeung of ANZ said in a commentary. “We believe the People’s Bank of China will continue to adopt a targeted policy as opposed to quantitative easing to support growth.”

The mixed day in Asia followed a rally Friday in New York that pushed major U.S. stock indexes to record highs, with the S&P 500 ending above 3,000 for the first time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9% to 27,332.03. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 3,013.77 and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 0.6% to 8,244.14. All were record highs.

Investors are betting the Federal Reserve will cut its benchmark interest rate later this month for the first time in more than a decade to help counter slowing growth.

Bond yields have been moving higher for several days, suggesting investors are confident the U.S. economy will power ahead, at least for the next several months.

The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note was 2.12% compared to the multi-year low of 1.95% the bond hit only 10 days ago.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil fell 2 cents to $60.19 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 1 cent to settle at $60.21 a barrel Friday in New York. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 7 cents to $66.79 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.98 Japanese yen from 107.91 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1277 to $1.1272.

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