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James Hyerczyk
China, Japan and Asia

Economic data out of Asia on Monday suggests the region may be stabilizing, creating a less pessimistic outlook for early 2021, but with coronavirus infections still rising in the area, there is evidence that consumers are still feeling a little cautious about spending.

Japan Manufacturers’ Sentiment stabilizes in January, Services Weaken:  Reuters Tankan

Sentiment among Japanese manufacturers stabilized in January to the least pessimistic in more than a year from the impact of COVID-19, but service firms grew gloomier just as new lockdowns hit most of the population, the Reuters Tankan poll found.

The Reuters Tankan sentiment index for manufacturers rose to minus 1 from minus 9 in the previous month, while the service-sector index fell to minus 11 from minus 4 in December, according to the December 24 – January 13 survey.

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China’s Economy Picks Up Speed in Fourth Quarter, Ends 2020 in Solid Shape after COVID-19 Shock

China’s economy picked up speed in the fourth quarter, with growth beating expectations as it ended a rough coronavirus-stricken 2020 in remarkably good shape and remained poised to expand further this year even as the global pandemic raged unabated.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 2.3% in 2020, official data showed on Monday, making China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year as many nations struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

GDP expanded 6.5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, data on the National Bureau of Statistics showed, quicker than the 6.1% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, and followed the third quarter’s solid 4.9% growth.

China’s 2020 Property Investment Rises 7% Year-on-Year

China’s property investment rose more slowly in 2020 from a year earlier although the rate of growth remained robust, official data showed on Monday.

Real estate investment in China rose 7.0% in 2020 from a year earlier, accelerating from a 6.8% gain in the first 11 months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement. But the growth rate was down from 9.9% in 2019.

China Industrial Output Rises 7.3% Year-on-Year in December; Retail Sales Miss Forecast

China’s industrial output rose at a faster-than-expected rate of 7.3% in December from a year ago, data showed on Monday, expanding for the ninth straight month as the vast manufacturing sector, aided by strong exports, continues its post-COVID recovery.

China’s Retail Sales edged up 4.6% last month from a year earlier, missing analysts’ forecast for 5.5% growth, in contrast to 5.0% growth in November.

Fixed Asset Investment increased 2.9% in 2020 on year, compared with a forecast 3.2% increase and a 2.5% growth in the first 11 months of the year.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
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