Asian stock markets advanced Friday as concerns over a sharper slowdown in the world's second largest economy eased after China reporting second quarter economic activity data in line with expectations.
The official data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Chinese economy expanded at the slowest pace in three years in the second quarter. China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at 7.6 percent in the April-June quarter, the slowest rate since early 2009, compared to the same period last year and in line with economists' estimation of 7.6 percent.
China's second-quarter figure was slower compared with the first quarter's 8.1 percent rise and also marked the sixth straight quarter of slower growth. Chinese economic growth has been trending steadily lower since peaking at 11.9 percent in first quarter of 2010. The world's largest emerging economy grew by 9.2 percent and 10.4 percent in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
The fact the numbers are not as bad as people had feared gives the market a boost. Also, the government is expected to further introduce monetary policies such as (a reserve requirement ratio) cut to prevent the economy from slowing down too much, Francis Lun, managing director at Lyncean Securities, told the Wall Street Journal.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.35 percent or 67.52 points to 19,092.63 and Chinese Shanghai composite rose 0.02 percent. Financial and resource-related shares led the gains in Hong Kong after the release of Chinese economic activity data.
China Life Insurance Co Ltd. gained 1.47 percent and China Coal Energy Co surged 3.42 percent while Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. rose 1.31 percent.
Japanese benchmark Nikkei gained 0.05 percent or 4.11 points to 8724.12. Exporter companies' shares were under pressure as the yen strengthened against the euro after Moody's Investors Service cut the Italian government's bond rating by two notches to Baa2 down from A3, citing the deterioration of economic prospects in the country and its inability in implementing reforms.
Canon Inc. declined 1.13 percent and Toyota Motors fell 0.50 percent while Asahi Kasei Corp gained 1.44 percent.
South Korean shares rebounded Friday after plunging more than 2 percent in the previous session on surprise rate cut by the Bank of Korea. The benchmark KOSPI surged 1.54 percent or 27.50 points to 1812.89. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. surged 4.40 percent and Hyundai Motor Co gained 3.43 percent.
Indian benchmark BSE Sensex advanced 0.38 percent or 66.00 points to 17,298.55. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. gained 2.05 percent after reporting a net income of Rs 32.8 billion ($589 million) for the quarter ending June 30, up from Rs 23.8 billion last year.