- Asia Pacific markets traded higher as investors waited for the release of important Chinese economic data that would provide further insight into the health of the world’s second-largest economy.
- Beijing is expected to announce China’s gross domestic product numbers for the fourth quarter .
- Analysts polled by Reuters expect the world’s second-largest economy to have grown 6.4 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, matching levels last seen in early 2009 during the global financial crisis.
Asia Pacific markets traded higher Monday morning as investors waited for the release of important Chinese economic data that could provide a closer look into the health of the world’s second-largest economy.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.76 percent in early trade while the Topix index rose 0.81 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi was up 0.2 percent while Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 rose more than 0.3 percent in morning trade, with most sectors seeing gains.
For its part, Beijing is expected to announce China’s gross domestic product numbers for the fourth quarter Economic growth in the country is widely expected to have cooled to its slowest rate in almost three decades in 2018.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect the Chinese economy to have grown 6.4 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, slowing from the previous quarter’s 6.5 percent pace and matching levels last seen in early 2009 during the global financial crisis.
That could pull 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 6.6 percent, the lowest since 1990 and down from a revised 6.8 percent in 2017.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, changed hands at 96.303 after touching lows below 95.5 last week.
The Japanese yen, widely seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 109.64 after seeing highs around the 108 handle in the previous week.
The Australian dollar was at $0.7164 after touching highs above $0.72 last week.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the yuan reference rate at 6.7774 vs Friday’s fix of 6.7665.
Oil prices dipped on Monday, weighed down by expectations that China will report its weakest economic growth in almost three decades amid waning domestic demand and painful U.S. tariffs.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $62.30 per barrel down 40 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 37 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $53.43 a barrel.
In the United States, energy firms cut 21 oil rigs in the week to Jan. 18, taking the total count down to 852, the lowest since May 2018
It was biggest decline since February 2016, as drillers reacted to the 40 percent plunge in U.S. crude prices late last year.
However, U.S. crude oil production still rose by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018, to a record 11.9 million bpd.