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Stock exchanges see modest gains after June data

By Xie Yu in Shanghai  (China Daily)

10:51, July 16, 2013

China's stock market rose modestly on Monday, with June's macroeconomic data helping to ease concerns of a hard landing.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.98 percent to 2,059.39 points. Turnover shrank to 88 billion yuan ($14.36 billion) from 103 billion yuan on Friday.

The figures also lent support to the Hang Seng Index - Hong Kong's benchmark - which increased 0.12 percent to 21,303.31, while equity markets in Australia and South Korea also reacted positively to the Chinese data.

China's GDP growth slowed to 7.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter from 7.7 percent in the first, in line with market expectations and easing earlier concerns about a possible hard landing for China's economy.

Meanwhile, China's industrial production growth and fixed-asset investment growth figures for June were both weaker than expected. Investment growth in the manufacturing and real estate sectors both slowed from May. On the positive side, the retail sales' growth rose to 13.3 percent year-on-year in June from 12.9 percent in May.

Some analysts said that the GDP figures showed that the economic slowdown is controllable by the central government, while others pointed out that the overall weak fundamentals may offer limited motivation for further growth in the equity markets.

"GDP growth in the second quarter was in line with market expectations. But there's hardly any encouraging data showing a robust recovery, and we also haven't seen any clear signs of stimulus policies. There will be limited space for further growth," said Chen Huiqin, a senior analyst at Huatai Securities.

Nomura Securities released a report on Monday, reiterating its view that China's overall monetary policy stance will remain tight at least for the next 12 months and that the Chinese government is carrying out a prolonged de-leveraging process, which will last well into 2014.

Although investors remain cautious at this stage, when the direction of macroeconomic policies is still unclear, there are some sectors which will likely benefit from supportive policies by the central government.

"Instead of directly stimulating the manufacturing sector, Li Keqiang's cabinet put emphasis on infrastructure which will be used to combat pollution and facilitate consumption. We believe these two strategies are understandable as they could help stabilize growth without worsening distortions and increasing leveraging," Merrill Lynch's China economists Ting Lu and Xiaojia Zhi wrote in a research note on Monday.

They believe that sectors including social housing, railway, information technology infrastructure, such as 3G/4G and broadband networks, new energy vehicles, energy-saving equipment and urban infrastructure projects will benefit from favorable policies in the second half of 2013.

On Monday, the shares of IT companies, culture and media firms and brokerages led gains after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang chaired a State Council meeting to study supportive policies for energy-saving and environment protection technologies and to boost IT-related consumption.

China's IT giant Tencent Holdings Ltd rose 3.74 percent on Monday in Hong Kong.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission, the top securities regulator, along with the central bank and the foreign exchange management institution, also announced on Friday an expanded quota for qualified foreign institutional, or QFII, investors to $150 billion from $80 billion.

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