Asian stocks gained on Monday in late morning trade after China’s new credit increased to a record in January, boosting optimism the world’s second-largest economy can maintain its growth momentum.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.7% to 136 as of 11:24 a.m. in Tokyo. South Korea’s Kospi index increased 0.3%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.4%, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.2%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index climbed 0.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 1.1%, and China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3%.
However, Japanese stocks struggled with both a stronger yen and a surprisingly weak reading on economic growth. The Nikkei slipped 0.4% as the US dollar a third of a yen to 101.47. Japan’s Topix index added 0.3% after falling as much as 1% earlier.
Japanese gross domestic product expanded an annualised 1% from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office said in Tokyo today, underscoring risks to the recovery as a sales-tax increase looms in April.
In China, aggregate financing, the broadest measure of credit in the world’s second-biggest economy, was 2.58 trillion yuan ($425 billion) last month, the People’s Bank of China said in on Friday. The figure contrast with a central bank call last month for lenders to control surging loans and highlight diminishing economic returns from credit growth.
In corporate news, Rio Tinto Group (RIO) rose 2.2% in Sydney. Newcrest Mining Ltd. advanced 3.5% as bullion prices rose to a three-month high.
Rakuten Inc. fell 8.7% in Tokyo after announcing plans buy the Viber Internet messaging and calling service for $900 million.