China’s Less-Than-Forecast Growth May Signal Easing

China's growth slowed more than forecast last quarter to the least in almost three years, prompting economists to predict a rebound as Premier Wen Jiabao loosens policy to counter weak domestic and European demand.

Gross domestic product in the world’s second-biggest economy expanded 8.1 percent from a year earlier after an 8.9 percent gain in the fourth quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said in Beijing earlier this morning.

An unexpected surge in March new yuan loans shows the ruling Communist Party is trying to avoid a deeper growth slide amid a once-a-decade power transfer to younger leaders. Pickups in industrial production and retail sales reported today may limit concerns that the world recovery is losing steam after job gains in the U.S. lagged forecasts and Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis threatened to worsen.

“The Chinese economy may be starting to bottom out and possibly will reaccelerate going forward,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has almost $100 billion under management. “The pickup in lending in March and the slight gain in momentum for industrial production and retail sales suggest that growth might pick up in the months ahead.”

The Shanghai Composite Index pared gains following the report, rising 0.2 percent at the 11:30 a.m. local-time break after advancing as much as 0.5 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose to a one-week high and South Korea’s won gained after a rocket launched by North Korea broke up and fell into the sea.

Bloomberg

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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Director of Currency Analysis and Research at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2007, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell
Dean Popplewell

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