Tuesday January 22nd


European stocks fall as China posts slowest growth in nearly three decades

European stocks traded lower on Monday, after fresh data from China showed its economy grew at its slowest pace since 1990. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index sank around 0.3 percent during morning deals, with most sectors and major bourses in the red. Asia Pacific markets started the trading week with gains despite China reporting that its economy grew at the lowest official pace in 28 years. The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.6 percent in 2018, which matched analysts’ expectations, and was lower than a revised 6.8 percent growth in 2017. Fourth quarter GDP growth was 6.4 percent, which was also in line with expectations. The mainland Chinese markets, closely watched as a result of the ongoing U.S.-China trade fight, saw gains on the back of the data release. The Shanghai composite rose more than 0.5 percent to close at about 2,610.51 while the Shenzhen composite gained 0.607 percent to end its trading day at around 1,330.17. The Shenzhen component also advanced 0.592 percent to close at approximately 7,626.24. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index saw gains of 0.39 percent to close at 27,196.54. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.26 percent to close at 20,719.33 while the Topix index rose 0.56 percent to finish its trading day at 1,566.37. In South Korea, the Kospi ended its trading day largely flat at 2,124.61. Oil prices fell on Monday, in line with weaker stock markets after evidence that economic growth in China, the world’s second largest crude consumer, eased in 2018. Brent crude oil futures were last down 35 cents on the day at $62.35 a barrel by 0946 GMT, while U.S. crude futures were down 23 cents at $53.57 a barrel. Gold prices held steady on Monday as expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will pause its multi-year interest rate hike cycle were offset by improving risk appetite. Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,282.80 per ounce by 0748 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,282.10 an ounce. US markets are closed today due to Martin Luther King Day.