Singapore: Asian stocks rose on Friday after a slew of Chinese data showed the world’s third-largest economy is on a brisk recovery path, while gold prices rose as the dollar steadied.
China’s industrial growth in November accelerated to 19.2% from a year earlier, its highest since June 2007, while investment expansion remained robust.
Chinese imports surged 26.7%, their first rise in 13 months, though exports disappointed slightly with a drop of 1.2%.
China’s strong rebound from the global downturn has boosted many of its Asian neighbours even as consumer demand in the region’s key Western export markets remains sluggish.
The MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.8%, with the energy sector providing the biggest lift. The Thomson Reuters index of Asia ex-Japan equities was also up 0.8%.
Stocks in Hong Kong, a key gateway to China for international investors, led regional gains with a jump of 1.7%. Property stocks were particularly firm after a recent sell-off, with Hang Lung Properties surging 3.8%. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8%.
Other data released on Friday showed the Chinese economy has also tentatively shaken off a bout of profit-eating deflation as the consumer price index turned positive in November after nine straight months of declines.
Japan’s Nikkei share average gained 0.8%, with exporters boosted by the Chinese data and improving trends in the US job market, which gave a modest boost to Wall Street overnight. A decline in the US October trade deficit also reassured investors that the world’s largest economy was steady albeit slow recovery path.
The dollar was steady against a basket of major currencies, while the Australian dollar stayed firm as higher stock markets abroad and the greater prospect of further interest rate hikes at home kept it well supported.
Gold prices rose above $1,130 an ounce as the dollar steadied, after snapping a four-day losing streak the day before when investors returned to buy bullion.
Still, gold prices have slipped nearly 8% from an all-time high of $1,226.1 on 3 December as the dollar rallied last week, contrary to market expectations.
US crude for January delivery rose 33 cents to $70.87 a barrel after hitting a two-month low on Thursday, its seventh straight losing session as ample supplies stoked worries about weak demand.