Weekly Roundup: Asian Markets Gain On Buoyant China Data

 
on February 01 2013 11:24 PM
An investor checks stock information with a computer at a brokerage house in Hefei
An investor checks stock information with a computer at a brokerage house in Hefei, Anhui province Feb. 20, 2012. REUTERS

Most of the Asian markets rose in the week as investor confidence was lifted amid the encouraging economic indicators from China.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 0.6 percent and closed at 23721.84. China’s Shanghai Composite climbed 5.6 percent and closed at 2419.02 points.

The profits of Chinese manufacturers surged in December, indicating an improvement in the world's second largest economy. According to the data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS), profits of industrial companies in the country rose 17.3 percent in December compared to that in the same month of the previous year following an increase of 22.8 percent in November.

China's manufacturing activity expanded to a two-year high in January, according to the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). The final reading of the PMI, a measure of the nationwide manufacturing activity, rose to 52.30 in January compared to 51.5 in December.

However, the data released Friday by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed that the PMI dropped to 50.4 in January from 50.6 in December. Significantly, the index remained in the expansion zone with a reading above 50.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 2.4 percent this week and closed at 11191.34. South Korea's Kospi Index was up 0.6 percent and closed at 1957.79.

The data released Wednesday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan’s retail sales, which measures the change in the total value of inflation-adjusted sales at the retail level, rose 0.4 percent in December in comparison to that in the same period last year, but down from a 1.3 percent increase reported in November.

Japan’s industrial output rose in December, but less than expected, indicating that the world’s third largest-economy continues to weaken. According to the data released Thursday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan’s industrial production rose 2.5 percent in December, up from a 1.4 percent decline in November but below the analysts’ forecast of 4.5 percent.

The data released Wednesday by the National Statistical Office showed that South Korea’s industrial production, which measures the change in the total inflation-adjusted value of output produced by manufacturers, mines and utilities, rose 0.8 percent in December compared to that in the same month last year, but down from a 3.2 percent increase in November.

India's BSE Sensex was down 1.6 percent in the week and closed at 19781.19.

Investor confidence could not be lifted even after the Reserve Bank of India announced Tuesday the monetary easing measures, much needed to revive the growth momentum of the country’s economy. The central bank cut the repo rate by 25 bps to 7.75 percent and also slashed the cash reserve ratio by 25 bps to 4 percent.

Meanwhile, according to HSBC, India's PMI data released Friday showed that the country’s manufacturing activity expanded in January, albeit at a slower rate than that in December. The HSBC India Manufacturing PMI posted a reading of 53.20 in January, down from 54.7 in December.

Major Gainers: Shares of China Shanshui Cement Group Ltd (HK: 691) climbed 6.9 percent. Shares of Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd (HK: 914) gained 7.3 percent and those of Koito Manufacturing Co (JP: 7276) rose 8.5 percent.

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