SHANGHAI, July 15 — Chinese shares rose and the yuan strengthened today as investors were relieved after economic growth data met market expectations, while encouraging retail sales and factory output numbers pointed to some stabilisation.
China’s economy grew 6.2% in the second quarter of 2019, its slowest pace in at least 27 years, amid weak domestic and external demand and a damaging trade war with the United States.
The growth slowdown had been widely predicted, and was in line with a Reuters poll of analysts. However, industrial output, fixed-asset investment and retail sales all came in better than expected.
At the midday break, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was 0.76% higher at 2,952.85 points, casting off losses that had pushed it down as much as 1.5% ahead of the data release.
The CSI300 index was 0.87% higher.
Gerry Alfonso, director at Shenwan Hongyuan Securities Co, said the GDP figure coming in line with the consensus helped to support the market.
“Tech names were among the top winners of the morning session. Tech names had a challenging performance last week which in the light of today’s macro data was arguably overdone,” he said in a note.
A sub-index tracking computer firms jumped 3.61% after falling 5.5% last week. Tech shares had come under pressure as 21 firms sought subscriptions from investors for their initial public offerings on China’s new tech-heavy STAR Market, diverting market funds.
Financial firms gained 0.82%, the consumer staples sector rose 0.07%, real estate firms climbed 0.28% and the healthcare sub-index was up 0.82%.
The smaller Shenzhen index was up 1.26% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index jumped 2.32%.
In Hong Kong, Chinese H-shares rose 0.37% to 10,828.27, while the Hang Seng Index gained 0.22% to 28,532.85 points.
China’s yuan was similarly unperturbed by the country’s slowing GDP growth. On the spot market, the yuan opened at 6.8790 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.8745 around midday.
The People’s Bank of China had earlier set the midpoint of the yuan’s daily trading band at 6.8677 per dollar, slightly weaker than the previous fix of 6.8662.
Tang Xiangbin, a currency analyst at China Minsheng Banking Corp, said that external factors, rather than domestic economic data, were determining the yuan’s direction.
“Currently, expectation for yuan depreciation is low,” he said. “The dollar index is the determining factor... if the dollar’s weakening accelerates in the event of a rate cut by the Fed, the yuan would get further support,” he said.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of major rivals, was nearly unchanged at 96.824. — Reuters