Sat, 06 Mar 2021

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Stocks in mainland China and Hong Kong advanced on Monday on news that the world's second-largest economy had powered up in the fourth quarter.

China's gross domestic product (GDP) rose 6.5 percent in the 4th quarter, compared to a year ago. Analysts had predicted the figure would be 6.1 percent.

Industrial production for December was also higher than forecast, although retail sales did not meet estimations.

"Despite the latest dip in retail sales, we see plenty of upside to consumption as households run down the excess savings they accumulated last year," Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital economics told Reuters Thomson Monday.

"Meanwhile, the tailwinds from last year's stimulus should keep industry and construction strong for a while longer."

China's GDP for the full year rose 2.3 percent, which was the lowest economic performance in 44 years. However considering the pandemic, the figure was higher than expected. "The performance was better than we had expected," Ning Jizhe, a spokesman for China's National Bureau of Statistics, told a press conference in Beijing on Monday.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 288.91 points or 1.01 percent to 28,862.77.

China's Shanghai Composite gained 29.85 points or 0.84 percent to 3,596.22.

Elsewhere in the region, the solid economic data out of China was shrugged off by other markets. The Australian All Ordinaries lost 57.40 points or 0.82 percent to 6,929.40.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 276.97 points or 0.97 percent to 26,242.21.

The U.S. dollar was mixed Monday. The euro fell to a six-week low of 1.2076 by the Sydney close. The British pound was solid at 1.3570. The Japanese yen was in demand at 103.74. The Swiss franc was little changed but weak at 0.8915.

The Canadian dollar fell to 1.2773. The Australian dollar traded lower at 0.7688. The New Zealand dollar dropped sharply to 0.7124.

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