Shares in Asia-Pacific mixed as China reports its economy grew in the second quarter


SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday as China reported its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) rose.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed higher. The Shanghai composite rose 1.02% to 3,564.59 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.751% to 15,169.33. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.85%, as of its final hour of trading.

China’s GDP rose 7.9% year-on-year in the second quarter, official data showed Thursday. That was lower than expectations by economists in a Reuters poll for a 8.1% rise.

Meanwhile, retail sales in June jumped 12.1% from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed — above analyst expectations for a 11% increase, according to Reuters.

Chinese industrial output rose 8.3% year-on-year in June, against expectations by analysts in a Reuters poll for a 7.8% increase.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 1.15% lower at 28,279.09 while the Topix index shed 1.2% to finish the trading day at 1,939.61. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.66% to close at 3,286.22.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia slipped 0.26% to close at 7,335.90. Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in June, the country’s Bureau of Statistics announced Thursday. That was less than an expected 5.0% in a Reuters poll, and was also a drop from the 5.1% jobless rate in May.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.82%.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced 0.12% to 4,374.30 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 44.44 points to 34,933.23. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged as it shed 0.22% 14,644.95.

The moves stateside came after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy is “a ways off” from where it needs to be for the central bank to change policy.

Bank of Korea keeps monetary policy steady

The Bank of Korea announced Thursday its decision to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, in line with expectations by analysts surveyed by Reuters.

Following that announcement, the South Korean won traded at 1,140.08 per dollar, still stronger than levels above 1,148 seen against the greenback yesterday.

Oil prices drop

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 1.23% to $73.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 1.44% to $72.08 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.386 after a recent fall from above 92.7.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.79 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110.4 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7477 following its bounce yesterday from around $0.744.


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