Weak Chinese Growth Figures Weigh on Asia Pacific Shares

China emphasized Thursday that the U.S. must remove tariffs in order for the two countries to reach a final agreement on trade, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said.
James Hyerczyk
Shanghai Stocks

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes are under pressure on Friday with the Japanese market bucking the trend. The catalysts behind the selling pressure are worse-than-expected gross domestic product figures. The news serves as further proof that the lingering trade conflict with the United States is taking its toll on economic growth.

At 05:05 GMT, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 22496.11, up 44.25 or +0.20%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 26824.37, down 24.12 or -0.09% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index is at 2070.77, down 7.17 or -0.35%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is trading 6645.50, down 39.20 or -0.59% and in China, the Shanghai Index is at 2959.76, down 17.58 or -0.59%.

Prior to the release of the growth data from China, the indexes were trading flat-to-higher, following Wall Street’s lead. The markets were underpinned by the news that the United Kingdom and European Commission had reached a tentative agreement over Brexit. Helping to put a lid on gains were the lack of clarity over U.S.-China trade relations, and general nervousness ahead of the U.K. parliament’s vote on Brexit on Saturday.

China Releases Third-Quarter GDP Figures

China released third-quarter GDP figures on Friday showing the economy grew 6.0% from a year ago. This was weaker than analyst expectations for a 6.1% gain. Beijing’s protracted trade dispute with the U.S. has weighed on its economy, with growth slowing to 6.2% in the last quarter, its slowest pace in 27 years.

China Lays Out Terms for Ultimate Trade Deal

China emphasized Thursday that the U.S. must remove tariffs in order for the two countries to reach a final agreement on trade, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said.

“China’s position, principle and goal for the China-U.S. trade negotiations has never changed,” Gao said in Mandarin at a weekly press conference, according to a CNBC translation.

“Both sides’ ultimate goal for the negotiations is to end the trade war, cancel all additional tariffs,” he said. “This is good for China, good for the U.S. and good for the world.”

Gao also did not confirm when a phase one agreement would be signed or whether the leaders of both countries planned to meet. He did note, however, that teams from both sides remain in communication.

“We hope both sides can continue to work together to advance the negotiations and, as soon as possible, reach a phased agreement and make new progress on canceling tariffs,” Gao said.

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