China's disappointing data dump weighs on Asia stocks







  • Asian stocks fell on Thursday after China released disappointing industrial, employment and retail data.

  • The uninspiring figures come after the world’s second-biggest economy cut its growth forecast to the lowest level in nearly 30 years.

Asian stocks slid on Thursday after China released a raft of uninspiring industrial, employment and retail data.

Chinese industrial output rose 5.3% in the first two months of 2019, its slowest rate of growth in 17 years, according to Reuters. Unemployment increased to 5.3% in February, up from 4.9% in December.

The new evidence of a slowdown comes a little more than a week after the world’s second-largest economy lowered its growth forecast to between 6% and 6.5% this year, its slowest rate of expansion in nearly 30 years.

Private-sector fixed-asset investment climbed 7.5%, down from 8.7% in 2018. Retail sales growth of 8.2% was in line with December but continues to hover at 15-year lows. Automobile sales fell for the eighth month in a row in February.

There were a few bright spots in the data dump. Fixed-asset investment grew by 6.1% in the first two months of the year, up from 5.9% in the same period of 2018. A key driver was property investment, which surged by 11.6%, a five-year high. Infrastructure investment also rose 4.3%.

Here ‘s the market roundup as of 9.08 a.m. (5.08 a.m. ET):

  • The Shanghai Composite Index and SZSE Component Index fell 1.2% and 1.8% respectively, while the DJ Shanghai slid 1.1%.
  • The FTSE 100, Euro Stoxx 50 and DAX were all up by about 0.5% to 0.7%, likely reflecting UK lawmakers’ vote on Wednesday to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
  • US futures were slightly up, suggesting the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq could gain between 0.1% and 0.25% when markets open later today.

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