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Asia stocks up modestly as China GDP figures match expectations

China's economy grew 6.8 per cent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the data showed, the slowest growth since 2009.

twitter-logoReuters | January 19, 2016 | Updated 08:58 IST
Asia stocks up modestly as China GDP figures match expectations
Volatile Shanghai shares rose 0.2 per cent, to pull away from a 13-month low on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Asian stocks rose modestly and crude oil prices nudged up on Tuesday after Chinese GDP figures were mostly in line with expectations.

China's economy grew 6.8 per cent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the data showed, the slowest growth since 2009. Industrial output in December rose 5.9 per cent from a year earlier, compared with forecasts for a 6.0 per cent increase.

The lack of negative surprises offered the market a slight reprieve following a tumultuous start to 2016 as concerns about China's economic health weighed heavily on global growth prospects.

"I think that at least the biggest fears about the real economy, fears that came to the surface during the stock market rout...I think those biggest fears were overblown," said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong.

"We don't see signs of an abrupt slowdown, or something getting worse than we had expected say six weeks ago."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 per cent after earlier touching its lowest level since October 2011.

Australian shares added 0.8 per cent, while Tokyo's Nikkei dropped 0.3 per cent.

Volatile Shanghai shares rose 0.2 per cent, to pull away from a 13-month low on Monday.

In commodities, Brent crude was up 0.9 per cent at $28.81 a barrel, pulling away from a 13-year low of $27.67 hit on Monday on worries about the return of additional Iranian crude to an already oversupplied market.

International sanctions on Tehran were lifted over the weekend, removing an obstacle to one of the world's biggest oil producing nations.

US markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Day.

The Australian dollar, often used as a proxy for China-related trades, stood little changed at $0.6859. The Aussie fell to a seven-year low of $0.6827 last week amid a rout in commodity-linked currencies.

The dollar nudged up 0.2 per cent to 117.55 yen after slipping last week to a 4-1/2-month low of 116.51.

The euro was flat at $1.0894 after dipping about 0.2 per cent on Monday.

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