Asian Shares End Lower On Tepid Chinese Data

Asian stocks fluctuated before ending on a subdued note Monday after data showed the Chinese economy and factory output slowed faster than expected.

Inflation concerns and uncertainty over the fate of heavily indebted property firm China Evergrande Group also kept underlying sentiment cautious.

Chinese shares ended a tad lower after data showed the country’s economy hit its slowest pace of growth in a year in the third quarter, hurt by power shortages, supply bottlenecks, sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks and major wobbles in the property sector.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index eased 4.23 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,568.14, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index reversed early losses to finish 0.3 percent higher at 25,409.75.

China’s GDP expanded 4.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics said, missing forecasts for 5.2 percent and down sharply from 7.9 percent in the three months prior.

The bureau also said that China’s industrial production gained an annual 3.1 percent in the month, missing forecasts for 4.5 percent and slowing from 5.1 percent in August.

Meanwhile, Chinese etail sales picked up an annual 4.4 percent, beating forecasts for 3.3 percent and up from 2.5 percent in the previous month.

Fixed asset investment was up 7.3 percent year-on-year, missing expectations for 7.9 percent and down from 8.9 percent a month earlier. The jobless rate in September was 4.9 percent, down from 5.1 percent in August.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session lower, although automakers advanced after Toyota Motor set targets for November production levels above those seen in recent years.

The Nikkei average ended down 43.17 points, or 0.2 percent, at 29,025.46 after posting its first weekly gain in four last week. The broader Topix closed 0.2 percent lower at 2,019.23.

Toyota Motor gained 2.3 percent after indicating it would ramp up production from December. Honda Motor rose 1.4 percent, Subaru jumped 2 percent, Suzuki Motor climbed 2.4 percent and component manufacturer Denso rallied 3.2 percent.

Rising commodity prices lifted resource-related shares, with Inpex and Mitsui Mining jumping about 5 percent.

Australian markets rose for the third straight day to hit a three-week high, with banks and commodity-related stocks leading the advance. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 19.10 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,381.10, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 15.50 points, or 0.2 percent, at 7,689.70.

Trading in Aristocrat Leisure shares was halted as the company made a $5 billion acquisition offer for U.K. gaming software company Playtech. Senex Energy soared almost 15 percent after South Korea’s POSCO International sweetened its offer for the natural gas company to $814.8 million.

Seoul stocks snapped a three-day rally on worries over inflation and disappointing Chinese growth data. The benchmark Kospi slipped 8.38 points, or 0.3 percent, to settle at 3,006.68, as oil prices reached new highs and data showed China’s economic growth in the third quarter hit a 1-year low. Chipmaker SK Hynix and petrochemical firm LG Chem both fell over 1 percent.

New Zealand shares ended slightly lower, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index ending down 13.68 points, or 0.1 percent, at 12,998.51 amid worries that higher interest rates would weigh on company profits.

Official data showed that consumer prices in the country rose an annual 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2021, boosting bets on higher interest rates.

U.S. stocks rose on Friday as better-than-estimated earnings and economic data overshadowed concerns surrounding inflation and constrained supply chains.

The Dow climbed 1.1 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.8 percent to reach new one-month closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained half a percent.

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