China’s GDP data showed the slowest pace of annual growth since 1990, at 6.9 percent on an annual basis in 2015. Markets were mixed but more or less looked at the positive side that the Chinese government will undertake more stimulus measures. Despite some early jitters around the release of the data, Asian markets steadied and were mostly higher in afternoon trade. China’s Shanghai Composite was up 2.2 per cent, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.3 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.9 per cent.
Foreign exchange markets were enlivened by the China data, prompting a number of regional currencies to sharply change direction. One of the most notable movers was the Australian dollar, which was down 0.2 per cent at $0.6850, having been up by 0.3 per cent and the region’s best performer before the China numbers were released. The Australian currency is often seen as a proxy for Chinese growth.
Similarly, the Japanese yen swung to be 0.1 per cent stronger at Y117.42 per dollar, having been 0.2 per cent weaker and the region’s worst performer prior to the data release.
The best performing currencies were the Indonesian rupiah, Thai baht and Taiwanese dollar, all up by 0.1 per cent, while the worst were the New Zealand dollar, down 0.4 per cent, the Australian dollar, and the Malaysian ringgit, down 0.2 per cent.
Brent crude closed lower on Monday for the 10th session in 11 and at its lowest level since December 1, 2003. It rebounded to be 1 per cent higher at $28.82 a barrel this morning.
Also trading around its lowest levels since late 2003 is West Texas Intermediate. The US benchmark was fetching $29.17, a 0.9 per cent drop from its previous close on Friday, as US markets were closed yesterday for the Martin Luther King holiday.
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