Investing.com – Asian equities were mixed in afternoon trade on Tuesday. China's first quarter GDP growth was in focus as it came in slightly higher than expectations. Traders now look ahead to a speech by the incoming head of the New York Fed John Williams later this week.
China’s GDP growth figures for the first quarter of 2018 came in at 6.8% year-on-year, slightly above market expectation of 6.7%, official data showed on Tuesday. Strong consumer demand and surprisingly robust property investment were cited as supportive. Impacts on the equities seemed to be limited however, with the Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component both falling more than 0.6% following the release of the data.
Meanwhile, China's industrial production data came in worse than expected, posting 6.0% compared to the estimated 6.4% and the 7.2% for the January-February period. Meanwhile, retail sales beat expectations in March, rising 10.1% from a year ago as sales of cosmetics, clothing, furniture and home appliances rose during the period. The data is compared to the consensus forecast of 9.9%.
After an initial climb into a positive territory following the data release, the Hang Seng index fell back into the red and traded 0.3% lower by 1:11AM ET (05:11 GMT).
Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed telecommunications-gear maker ZTE Corp-H (HK:0763) made headlines after the U.S. blocked the company from exporting “sensitive technology” from America. The company was accused of making false statements to U.S. officials, reports suggested.
In Japan, the Nikkei slipped 0.1% in afternoon trade. U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are set to meet on Wednesday to discuss trade, among other things, reports on Tuesday suggested. Investors also watch closely if U.S. officials try to put pressure on Japan after the U.S. Treasury’s semi-annual currency report published on Friday kept Japan on a monitoring list for possible manipulation. In addition, Trump accused China and Russia of devaluing their currencies.
Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI traded 0.2% lower, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched 0.2% higher after the Reserve Bank of Australia maintained its dovish monetary policy to keep interest rate at 1.5% as the Bank’s minutes showed on Tuesday that inflation remained below target.
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