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Asian Markets Mixed, China Reports Economic Growth

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday as China reported its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) rose.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed higher. The Shanghai Composite rose 1.02% to 3,564.59 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.751% to 15,169.33. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.85%, as of its final hour of trading.

asia markets
Shanghai Composite Index

China’s GDP rose 7.9% year-on-year in the second quarter, official data showed Thursday. That was lower than expectations by economists for an 8.1% rise.

Meanwhile, retail sales in June jumped 12.1% from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed — above analyst expectations for an 11% increase.

Chinese industrial output rose 8.3% year-on-year in June, against expectations by analysts in a Reuters poll for a 7.8% increase.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 1.15% lower at 28,279.09 while the Topix index shed 1.2% to finish the trading day at 1,939.61. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.66% to close at 3,286.22.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia slipped 0.26% to close at 7,335.90. Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in June, the country’s Bureau of Statistics announced Thursday. That was less than an expected 5.0% and was also a drop from the 5.1% jobless rate in May.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.82%.

The Bank of Korea announced Thursday its decision to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, in line with expectations by analysts.

Following that announcement, the South Korean won traded at 1,140.08 per dollar, still stronger than levels above 1,148 seen against the greenback yesterday.

Asian Markets Oil and Currencies

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 1.23% to $73.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 1.44% to $72.08 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.386 after a recent fall from above 92.7.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.79 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110.4 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7477 following its bounce yesterday from around $0.744.