Asian stocks mixed as China growth slows further

Asian stocks mixed as China growth slows further

Tokyo: Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday as China reported slower growth but Japan recouped losses on a spike in the dollar after the top US finance official said the world needs to agree on exchange rate policy.

Investors took Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s remarks in a Wall Street Journal interview to mean that the United States sees no need for the dollar to weaken further against the yen. The comments pushed the dollar as high as ¥81.84 in Tokyo from ¥81.13 in New York late Wednesday.

“We would like countries to move toward a set of norms on exchange rate policy," Geithner said in the interview published Thursday as finance officials from major economies gather in South Korea for a G-20 summit.

The meeting is seen as an opportunity for leading countries to defuse currency tensions, which are overshadowing debate about reforming the world economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis and global recession.

Many countries point to China’s tight control of its currency as a source of friction, saying that keeping the yuan artificially low gives Chinese exporters an unfair competitive advantage. Meanwhile, the yen’s strength against the dollar has been punishing Japan’s vital manufacturers.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index rose 18.91 points, or 0.2%, to 9,400.51.

South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.2% to 1,866.75. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.3% at 4,637.10 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.2% to 23,596.99.

The Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.3% to 2,996.26. Markets in Taiwan and Singapore also fell.

China said Thursday its rapid economic expansion slowed in the July-September quarter as Beijing cooled a credit boom and tried to steer growth to a more sustainable level, possibly reducing its contribution to a global recovery.

The world’s second-largest economy grew 9.6% in the quarter ending in September over a year earlier. That was down from the previous quarter’s 10.3% but still by far the highest of any major economy.

In New York Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rallied 129.35 points, or 1.2%, to 11,107.97, lifted by a batch of strong earnings results from companies like Delta Air Lines Inc. and Boeing Co.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3915 from $1.3951 in New York late Wednesday. The dollar gave up some of its gains versus the yen to trade at ¥81.23.

Benchmark oil for December delivery was down 22 cents at $82.32 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The November contract expired Wednesday and trading moved to the December contract, which rose $1.38 to settle at $82.54 a barrel.