Asian markets advance on optimism over China-US trade

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BANGKOK (AP) — World stocks were subdued Monday after China reported its slowest economic expansion in 30 years and the International Monetary Fund cut its forecasts for global growth this year.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX fell 0.6 percent to close at 11,136.20 while the CAC 40 in France slipped 0.2 percent to 4,867.78. Britain’s FTSE 100 added less than 0.1 percent to 6,970.59. Wall Street remained closed for Martin Luther King Jr Day.

THE DAY IN ASIA: The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 percent to 2,610.51 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.3 percent to 27,196.54. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.3 percent to 20,719.33, while South Korea’s Kospi was flat at 2,124.61. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia added 0.2 percent to 5,890.40. India’s Sensex surged 0.7 percent to 36,633.37. Shares rose in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

CHINA’S ECONOMY: The 6.6 percent expansion of the world’s second-largest economy was down from 2017’s 6.9 percent and the weakest since 1990. China’s communist leaders are trying to steer the country to slower, more self-sustaining growth based on consumer spending instead of trade and investment. But the slowdown has been sharper than expected, prompting Beijing to ease lending controls and step up government spending to shore up growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses. The lackluster data raised hopes for more policy action.

CHINA-US TRADE: Stock markets had been buoyed Friday by a Bloomberg News report that Chinese officials offered to buy more goods and services from the U.S., potentially eliminating its trade deficit by 2024. The Chinese government says the top trade envoys from both countries will meet at the end of January. The U.S. trade deficit with China grew to a record $323.3 billion in 2018. The two countries have raised taxes on billions of dollars of each other’s goods in the spat over the trade deficit, Beijing’s manufacturing plans, and U.S. complaints that China steals technology from foreign companies.

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WORLD OUTLOOK: The IMF cut its forecast for global growth this year to 3.5 percent, from the 3.7 percent it had predicted in October and down from 2018’s 3.7 percent. In its report, presented on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, it cited the impact of global trade disputes as well as rising interest rates.

ENERGY: U.S. crude fell 8 cents to $53.72 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 3.3 percent on Friday to $54.04 in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 16 cents to $62.60 per barrel. It added 2.5 percent to $62.70 a barrel in London on Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.63 yen from 109.78 yen. The euro was roughly flat at $1.1366.

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