Asian Equities Mixed; Chinese Stocks Down 2% on Weak Industrial Output Data

Asian Equities Mixed; Chinese Stocks Down 2% on Weak Industrial Output Data

© Reuters. – Asian Equities were mixed in afternoon trade on Thursday after U.K. lawmakers rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal.

Chinese stocks underperformed their regional peers after the release of the weaker-than-expected .

Factory output rose 5.3% year-on-year in January and February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported on Thursday. It was the lowest since 2002. The growth had been expected to slow to 5.5% from December’s 5.7%.

Meanwhile, improved slightly compared to the same period in 2018. The growth was 6.1% in the January-February period, marginally higher than the expected 6%.

growth in January-February came in at 8.2%, in line with growth in December and just above the 8.1% increase forecast.

The data sent the down 2% at 1:51 AM ET (05:51 GMT), while the also slid 1.4%. Hong Kong’s was trading near flat.

Japan’s gained 0.5%. The Nikkei Business Daily reported on Thursday that Japan's government is considering a slight downgrade to its assessment of the economy due to slowing demand from China.

South Korea’s was little changed, while Australia’s was up 0.3%.

Although not a directional driver, U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday offered to push back a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping until a final deal on trade is reached.

“We could do it either way,” Trump told reporters Wednesday at the White House. “We can have the deal completed and come and sign or we can get the deal almost completed and negotiate some of the final points. I would prefer that. But it doesn’t matter that much.”

Meanwhile, comments by Gary Cohn, the former head of President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council, received some focus as he said the U.S. is “desperate right now” to sign a trade pact with China.

“The president needs a win,” Cohn said in an interview with the Freakonomics podcast.

“The only big open issue right now that he could claim as a big win that he’d hope would have a big impact on the stock market would be a Chinese resolution,” Cohn said of a trade agreement. “Getting the trade deficit down I will never say is easy, but of the issues on the table, that’s relatively easier.”

In the U.K., Members of Parliament will now vote again later today on whether to seek an extension to Article 50 after rejecting a no-deal Brexit.

Yesterday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said a “no-deal” scenario remains the default option after her Brexit deal suffered another defeat in the British Parliament.

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