Asian shares mixed after China reports slowing growth

Jan 16, 2022, 8:31 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

BANGKOK (AP) — 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.

Tokyo, Shanghai and Sydney rose, while Hong Kong and Seoul declined.

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.

The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3% to 3,532.24, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.6% to 24,220.61.

South Korea’s Kospi sank 1.1% to 2,889.98 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.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7% to 28,318.54 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%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1% higher, to 7,398.70.

On Friday, the S&P 500 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 posted a 0.6% gain, closing at 14,893.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% to 35,911.81.

Smaller company stocks also bounced back from an early slide. The Russell 2000 index rose 0.1%, to 2,162.46.

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 rose to 114.42 Japanese yen from 114.18 yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.1417.

___

AP Business Writer Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE- People wait to buy fuel at a fuel station in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 27, 2022. Cash-strapped...
Associated Press

With no fuel and no cash, Sri Lanka keeps schools closed

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Cash-strapped Sri Lanka on Sunday extended school closures for one week because there isn’t enough fuel for teachers and parents to get children to classrooms, and the energy minister appealed to the country’s expatriates to send money home through banks to finance new oil purchases. A huge foreign debt has […]
8 hours ago
Players wait before entering the field prior to the final women's game of the national cup of worki...
Associated Press

French soccer tournament celebrates diversity, fights racism

CRETEIL, France (AP) — An amateur soccer tournament in France aimed at celebrating ethnic diversity is attracting talent scouts, sponsors and increasing public attention, by uniting young players from low-income neighborhoods with high-profile names in the sport. The National Neighborhoods Cup is intended to shine a positive spotlight on working-class areas with large immigrant populations […]
8 hours ago
This image filed May 15, 2019 in federal court as part of a forfeiture complaint by the U.S. attorn...
Associated Press

Long-missing Alexander Hamilton letter put on public display

BOSTON (AP) — A letter written by Alexander Hamilton in 1780 and believed stolen decades ago from the Massachusetts state archives is going back on display — though not exactly in the room where it happened. The founding father’s letter will be the featured piece at the Commonwealth Museum’s annual July Fourth exhibit, Secretary of […]
8 hours ago
FILE - More than 100 opponents of the Republican redistricting plans vow to fight the maps at a ral...
Associated Press

Abortion ruling puts spotlight on gerrymandered legislatures

In overturning a half-century of nationwide legal protection for abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Roe v. Wade had been wrongly decided and that it was time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives” in the states. Whether those elected officials are truly representative of the people is a matter […]
8 hours ago
Nate Looney poses in front of a painting at the BAR Center at the Beach Thursday, June 16, 2022, in...
Associated Press

Black Jewish leader works to boost community, inclusiveness

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nate Looney is a Black man who grew up in Los Angeles, a descendant of enslaved people from generations ago. He’s also an observant, kippah-wearing Jew. But he doesn’t always feel welcome in Jewish spaces — his skin color sometimes elicits questioning glances, suspicions and hurtful assumptions. Once, he walked into […]
8 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the W...
Associated Press

From one July Fourth to the next, a steep slide for Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last Fourth of July, President Joe Biden gathered hundreds of people outside the White House for an event that would have been unthinkable for many Americans the previous year. With the coronavirus in retreat, they ate hamburgers and watched fireworks over the National Mall. Although the pandemic wasn’t over yet, Biden said, […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Asian shares mixed after China reports slowing growth