Asian shares were mixed on Friday, as Chinese shares sank after leaders acknowledged that the official 5.5 percent growth target for this year would not be met.
Investors appear to have grown more convinced that the US Federal Reserve might temper its aggressive interest rate hikes aimed at taming inflation after the US Department of Commerce reported that the US economy contracted at a 0.9 percent annual pace in the past quarter. That followed a 1.6 percent year-on-year drop in the first quarter.
Investors were also cautiously eyeing regional tensions over China’s stance on Taiwan after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) spoke for more than two hours on Thursday.
China left no doubt it blames the US for a deteriorating relationship, but the White House said the call’s aim was to “responsibly manage our differences and work together where our interests align.”
In Taipei, the TAIEX closed up 108.17 points, or 0.73 percent, at 15,000.07, posting a weekly gain of 0.34 percent. Turnover totaled NT$222.857 billion (US$7.44 billion).
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 2.26 percent to 20,156.51, losing 2.2 percent weekly, while the Shanghai Composite Index shrank 0.89 percent to 3,253.24, declining 0.51 percent from a week earlier after China’s leaders said that the struggling economy would not hit its official growth target of 5.5 percent this year.
The announcement after a Chinese Communist Party planning meeting on Thursday said that Beijing would try to prop up sagging consumer demand, but would stick to strict anti-COVID-19 tactics that have disrupted manufacturing and trade.
It underscores the high cost Xi’s government is willing to incur to stop the virus in a politically sensitive year when he is widely expected to try to extend his term in power.
Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.67 percent to 2,451.50, rising 2.44 percent weekly, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.81 percent to 6,945.20, up 2.26 percent from a week earlier, and India’s SENSEX increased 1.25 percent to 57,570.25, posting a weekly gain of 2.67 percent.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.05 percent to 27,801.64, down 0.4 percent on the week, while the broader TOPIX dropped 0.44 percent to 1,940.31, declining 0.8 percent from a week earlier.
Japanese government data showed factory output last month jumped 8.9 percent from the previous month, marking the first rise in three months.
The recent easing of COVID-19 lockdowns in China has helped boost Japanese production.
“On the economic data front, easing China’s restrictions also drove a stronger-than-expected June output for Japan, with China’s reopening potentially having a positive knock-on impact across the region as well into the second half of the year,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
A surge in COVID-19 infections to record levels in many parts of Japan has raised concern, but Robert Carnell, regional head of research for Asia-Pacific at ING, said that Japan’s second quarter GDP would rebound marginally from the first quarter’s contraction.
Additional reporting by staff writer, with CNA
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