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Asian Markets Extend Losses as China Data Disappoints

Investing.com - Asian stocks extended their losses in afternoon trade on Friday after China reported weaker-than-expected data. Growth in Retail sales

Investing.com - Asian stocks extended their losses in afternoon trade on Friday after China reported weaker-than-expected data.

Growth in Retail sales and industrial output in China slowed more than expected in November, official data showed on Friday.

Retail sales grew 8.1% year on year, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, compared with the median forecast of 8.8%. The growth was the weakest pace since 2003, according to Reuters’ records.

Meanwhile, growth in industrial output also dipped half a percentage point to notch a year-on-year rise of 5.4%, lower than the 5.9% that markets projected.

On the other hand, fixed-asset investment grew 5.9% from January to November, marginally higher than the previous expected 5.8%.

Despite the weak data, China's statistics bureau spokesman Mao Shengyong said China is on track to hit its 2018 GDP growth target of around 6.5%, although the economy would be facing more external uncertainties in 2019.

Weaker industrial output and retail sales growth in November showed that downward pressure on the economy is increasing, he added.

Meanwhile, although not a directional driver, Bloomberg reported that the White House would later in the day officially announce a delay in tariff hike on Chinese imported goods.

The report came after China promised to remove retaliatory tariffs on U.S. automobiles and postpone some targets of its ambitious plans to dominate high-end technologies, the “Made in China 2025” plan, by 10 years.

“They’ve started to make some very early stage, very preliminary, but very welcome moves,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday.

The Shanghai Composite and the SZSE Component fell 1.5% and 2.3% respectively by 1:49 AM ET (06:49 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 1.7%.

Real estate developer China Jinmao Holdings Group Ltd (HK:0817), a subsidiary of the state-backed conglomerate Sinochem Corporation, issued CNY 2 billion perpetual medium-term notes on Thursday.

Jinmao was granted the approval to raise up to CNY 10 billion in two years. The company said the first batch of notes aims to raise funds to support the development and construction of property projects and to add to its working capital.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slumped 2.1% even after a preliminary survey compiled by IHS Markit showed the country’s manufacturing activity expanded in December.

The Flash Markit/Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 52.4 in December, compared with 52.2 in November, the survey showed on Friday.

Separately, the Bank of Japan released the Tankan survey on Friday that showed large Japanese manufacturers’ sentiment stood at plus 19 in December, unchanged from three months ago and beating a median market forecast of plus 17.

The index for non-manufacturers rose to plus 24, exceeding the general consensus of plus 21.

The Tankan survey “is a better indication of the underlying strength of the Japanese economy than the prior GDP figures,” said Robert Carnell, ING’s chief economist and head of research in the Asia Pacific.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) screen supplier Japan Display Inc (T:6740) jumped as much as 40% in morning trade on reports that the company is in discussion with Chinese businesses and investment funds get support for its turnaround efforts.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI traded 1.3% lower, while Australia’s ASX 200 was also down 1.1%.