Asia Pacific markets traded higher Monday morning as investors waited for the release of important Chinese economic data that could provide a closer look into the health of the world’s second-largest economy.
Nikkei 225 gained 0.76 percent in early trade while the Topix index rose 0.81 percent. Shares of automaker Nissan advanced more than 0.6 percent after details of former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s renewed bail request emerged.
Australian oil stocks rose as the energy subindex advanced 0.9 percent. Crude oil prices gained on Friday following news that China has put forward a plan to eliminate its trade surplus with the United States.
China’s GDP data closely watched
For its part, Beijing is expected to announce China’s gross domestic product numbers for the fourth quarter around 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN. Economic growth in the country is widely expected to have cooled to its slowest rate in almost three decades in 2018.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect the Chinese economy to have grown 6.4 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, slowing from the previous quarter’s 6.5 percent pace and matching levels last seen in early 2009 during the global financial crisis.
That could pull 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 6.6 percent, the lowest since 1990 and down from a revised 6.8 percent in 2017.
Further data releases expected on December fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales in China could also “help give a clearer steer on the impacts of the increase in lending and easier monetary/fiscal policy,” Rodrigo Catril, a senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a morning note.
The mainland Chinese markets, closely watched as a result of the ongoing trade fight between Beijing and Washington, are set to open at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, changed hands at 96.303 after touching lows below 95.5 last week.
The Japanese yen, widely seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 109.64 after seeing highs around the 108 handle in the previous week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7164 after touching highs above $0.72 last week.
— Reuters contributed to this report.