Asia stocks rise as China credit growth rebounds

Stock market
BEIJING: Asian stock markets rose Monday after China´s bank lending in January beat forecasts and Europe reported stronger-than-expected economic growth.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 percent to 2,122.9 and Tokyo´s Nikkei 225 gained 0.4 percent to 14,369.78.Hong Kong´s Hang Seng rose 1 percent to 22,527.22. Seoul and Sydney also rose.

Lending by Chinese banks and in the largely unregulated underground market rebounded to 2.6 trillion yuan ($430 billion) in January from December´s 1.2 billion yuan, according to the central bank. Lending usually surges at the start of a new year but January´s rise exceeded forecasts and might help to ease worries about cooling retail sales, manufacturing and other activity.

“The January credit data could boost confidence in short term economic growth,” said Bank of America economists Ting Lu and Xiaojia Zhi in a report. However, they cautioned such data also might raise concerns about the health of China´s financial system.

Japan´s latest quarterly economic growth disappointed forecasters, holding steady at 0.3 percent. Growth in private consumption accelerated to 0.5 percent from the previous quarter´s 0.2 percent but fell short of forecasts. Public investment growth tumbled to 2.3 percent from the previous quarter´s 7.2 percent.

Taiwan´s Taiex gained 0.1 percent to 8,524.90 and Sydney´s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 percent to 5,377.7. South Korea´s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 1,946.62.