Asian markets up on China data, weak yen lifts Tokyo

January 19, 2013 - 4:52:23 am


Hong Kong: Asian shares posted strong gains yesterday after China released data showing a better-than-expected pick-up in the economy for the past four months, while Tokyo was boosted by another fall in the yen.

The dollar climbed to a new two-and-a-half-year high against the Japanese unit, while the euro jumped on expectations the Bank of Japan will unveil another huge stimulus package and set a two-percent inflation target.

Tokyo soared 2.86 percent, or 303.66 points, to 10,913.30, Hong Kong was up 1.12 percent, or 262.02 points, at 23,601.78 and Shanghai put on 1.41 percent, or 32.16 points, to 2,317.07.

Seoul added 0.69 percent, or 13.58 points, to 1,987.85 and Sydney gained 0.31 percent, or 14.6 points, to 4,771.2. 

Beijing said the world’s number two economy expanded 7.8 percent in 2012, better than the government target of 7.5 percent, marking a second straight year of easing owing to weakness in key overseas markets. It also said GPD grew 7.9 percent in October-December, snapping seven straight quarters of slowing growth.

Economists had projected GDP growth of 7.7 percent in 2012 and 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter. The figures reinforce indications that the economy will not suffer a so-called hard landing and is emerging from a drawn-out slumber that has had a knock-on effect on other countries. “In the market now hard landing concerns are lower, we expect stable growth for the rest of the year,” Haibin Zhu, chief China economist at JP Morgan in Hong Kong, said. AFP