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Jan. 16, 2022, 10:44 p.m. EST

Asian markets mixed after China reports slower growth in second half

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By Associated Press

BANGKOK — Shares were mixed in Asia on Monday after China reported that its economy expanded at an 8.1% annual pace in 2021, though growth slowed to half that level in the last quarter.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.02% advanced 0.7% as the government reported machinery orders rose in November as private investment and manufacturing activity improved during a lull in coronavirus outbreaks. Shipbuilders orders surged 170%.

South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.02% sank 1.2% after  North Korea fired  two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea early Monday in its fourth weapons launch this month, South Korea’s military said, with the apparent goal of demonstrating its military might amid paused diplomacy with the United States and pandemic border closures.

The Shanghai Composite index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.65% gained 0.5%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.13% dropped 0.7%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.44% edged 0.1% higher. Stocks slipped in Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.44% , but rose slightly in Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.82% and Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.57% .

The weakness in China’s economy toward the end of 2021 is prompting suggestions Beijing should intervene to prop up growth with interest rate cuts or by injecting money into the economy through public works spending.

Shortly before the growth data were released, the Chinese central bank announced a rate cut on medium-lending to commercial banks to the lowest level since 2020.

“Economic momentum remains weak amid repeated virus outbreaks and a struggling property sector,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary. He expects China’s policymakers to keep limits on lending relatively tight and control credit growth.

“The upshot is that policy easing is likely to soften the economic downturn rather than drive a rebound,” he said.

Slowing activity in China,  the region’s biggest economy, can chill growth throughout the region. Lockdowns and other precautions imposed to combat outbreaks of coronavirus can also worsen shortages of key parts and components, adding to difficulties with shipping and supply chains.

On Friday, the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.95% eked out a 0.1% gain to 4,662.85, surging in the final minutes of trading after having been down about 1% earlier in the day. The tech-heavy Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.51% posted a 0.6% gain, closing at 14,893.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.60% fell 0.6% to 35,911.81.

A rally in technology stocks, plus gains in energy and other sectors, helped outweigh declines in banks and elsewhere in the market on a day when investors were mainly focused on a mix of company earnings reports and discouraging data on retail sales.

The mixed finish capped a week of choppy trading on Wall Street that deepened the market’s January slump. The benchmark S&P 500, which soared 26.9% in 2021, is now about 2.8% below the all-time high it set on Jan. 3.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that  retail sales sank 1.9% in December  after Americans cut their spending in the face of product shortages, rising prices and the onset of the omicron variant.

That was the latest in a series of economic reports this week that has raised concern about inflation and its impact on businesses and consumer spending.

Rising prices have been prompting businesses to  pass more costs on to consumers . Consumers have been pulling back on spending at department stores, restaurants and online as a result of higher prices and supply shortages.

Concerns over persistently rising inflation are also prompting the  Federal Reserve  to trim its bond purchases and consider raising interest rates earlier and more often than Wall Street had expected less than a year ago.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 1.79%.

The price of U.S. crude oil rose 40 cents to $84.22 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, it rose 2.1%, helping to send energy stocks higher.

Brent crude added 19 cents to $86.25 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.1100% rose to 114.42 Japanese yen from 114.18 yen.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
26,672.96
-4.84 -0.02%
Volume: 0.00
May 26, 2022 1:32p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,616.80
-0.42 -0.02%
Volume: 389,130
May 26, 2022 1:32p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
3,127.81
+20.34 +0.65%
Volume: 23.49B
May 26, 2022 12:37p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
20,145.80
-25.47 -0.13%
Volume: 859,816
May 26, 2022 12:05p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
7,123.50
-31.70 -0.44%
Volume: 355,452
May 26, 2022 2:32p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed
ID : Indonesia Stock Exchange
6,883.50
-30.64 -0.44%
Volume: 0.00
May 25, 2022 3:00p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed
SG : Singapore: SGX
3,205.53
+25.95 +0.82%
Volume: 0.00
May 26, 2022 12:37p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed
TW : Taiwan Stock Exchange
16,011.50
-92.53 -0.57%
Volume: 0.00
May 26, 2022 12:32p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,978.73
+37.25 +0.95%
Volume: 2.33B
May 25, 2022 5:35p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : Nasdaq
11,434.74
+170.29 +1.51%
Volume: 3.88M
May 25, 2022 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
32,120.28
+191.66 +0.60%
Volume: 348.46M
May 25, 2022 5:35p
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/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
127.4140
+0.1400 +0.1100%
Volume: 0.0000
May 26, 2022 12:52a
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