China GDP grows 0.4%, misses expectations

SINGAPORE — Chinese markets were mixed Friday as investors watched for market reaction to China’s second-quarter GDP missing expectations.

China’s GDP grew 0.4% in the second quarter, compared with 4.8% in the first quarter and the 1% that analysts in a Reuters poll predicted.

Retail sales topped expectations, however, rising 3.1% in June. A Reuters poll of analysts expected no growth compared with a year ago.

The Shanghai Composite was down 0.24%, while the Shenzhen Component was up 0.196%.

Inflation and interest rate hikes, and the fear it will drive recession continued to dominate investment markets over the last week.

Shane Oliver

Chief Economist, AMP Capital

The second-quarter report is China’s weakest GDP print since the first quarter of 2020 when the Covid pandemic first hit.

Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics at HSBC, said it’s not a big surprise given the severe disruptions in logistics and consumption during Covid lockdowns. Still, he said the weak GDP report suggests the recovery hasn’t been as strong as hoped.

“That means the economy didn’t really have tailwinds going, even into the third quarter,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Friday.

“Perhaps the message here is we need even more stimulus then, on top of what’s been announced in recent weeks and months,” he added.

Asia-Pacific markets mixed

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 1.19%, and the Hong Kong Tech index slipped around 2%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.77%.

South Korea’s Kospi struggled for direction and was last 0.34% higher, while the Kosdaq lost 0.31%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was 0.59% higher, while the Topix index was about flat.

Shares of Uniqlo-owner Fast Retailing jumped 8.06% after the company posted a record quarterly profit after the close on Thursday, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.33%.

Most major indexes in the region trended lower this week.

“Inflation and interest rate hikes, and the fear it will drive recession continued to dominate investment markets over the last week,” Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital, wrote in a note Friday.

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Separately in China, bank and real estate stocks were hit Thursday as homebuyers boycott mortgage payments for unfinished property projects.

The South China Morning Post reported late Thursday that the boycott has grown, with buyers of more than 230 properties in 86 cities not making mortgage payments.

China Overseas Land and Investment shares lost 1.3% and Longfor’s stock dropped 4.52% on Friday.

Alibaba’s U.S.-listed shares dropped more than 4% overnight after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s executives were summoned by authorities investigating theft of police data. The tech giant’s shares in Hong Kong fell 3.86%.

U.S. stock indexes slipped Thursday after bank earnings disappointed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.46%, or 142.62 points, to 30,630.17, while the S&P 500 dipped 0.3% to 3,790.38. The Nasdaq Composite inched 0.03% higher to finish at 11,251.19.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 108.591. The index popped above 109 briefly in the previous session.

The Japanese yen was at 138.97 per dollar, after weakening beyond 139 against the greenback on Thursday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6743.

Oil futures rose in Asia trade. U.S. crude was 0.61% higher at $96.36 per barrel, while Brent crude was up 0.9% at $99.299 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng, Samantha Subin and Carmen Reinicke contributed to this report.

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