China Economy Grew 6.4% in Q1

China's economy grew 6.4% in the first quarter of 2019, beating analysts' expectations of 6.3% growth in the first quarter

Alliance News 17 April, 2019 | 10:12AM David Brenchley

Shanghai stock exchange China

China's economy grew 6.4% in the first quarter of 2019, holding steady from the last quarter of 2018, official data showed Wednesday.

The data beat analysts' expectations of a 6.3% growth in the first quarter. 

Financial indicators in March had suggested the government's efforts to shore up the slowing economy were starting to take hold.

Exports jumped 14.2% year-on-year in March, after a serious contraction in February.

China's economy grew 6.6% last year - its slowest pace in almost three decades - due to pressure from a trade war with the US and rising government debt.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last month set a 6-to-6.5% economic growth target for 2019, citing "rising uncertainties" facing the world's second-largest economy.

Chinese and US trade teams held negotiations this month to end their prolonged trade war and appeared to agree on an enforcement mechanism for a future trade deal. US officials suggested a trade deal could be finalised soon. 

Hopes of a deal have buoyed the Chinese stock market in recent months: the Shanghai Composite Index has risen from 2,465 to over 3,260 points in mid-April.

The Morningstar View - David Brenchley

Our recent run through the best-performing funds and investment trusts during the first three months of 2018 show strong performance from China equity-focused offerings.

Indeed, the China/Greater China sector has been the best-performing sector Investment Association sector in the year to April 9, with the average fund returning 20%.

This outperformance follows a poor year in 2018, during which time funds in the sector averaged losses of 16%. Clearly, the Chinese stock market is following a trend set by global equities, of a strong rebound in 2019 after a correction during the fourth quarter of 2018.

But it’s led many to wonder just how far China can rally, particularly with an economy that looks to finally be slowing. However, some believe investors still have time to participate in the rally because of a trio of factors that give the bull run legs.

In October, it was announced that index providers MSCI and FTSE Russell would increase the weighting of China stocks in their indices.

The inclusion would see A-Shares added as well as select stocks from other Chinese exchanges. In the case of MSCI, it would represent a quadrupling of the weighting of China equities in its global benchmarks, going from 5% to 20%.

Earlier this year, it was announced the inclusion would happen sooner than expected, in three steps in May, August and November.

This is an obvious boost for Chinese stocks. So far in 2019, it has very much been A-Shares that have led the Chinese rally, with the MSCI China A Onshore index returning 40%, compared to MSCI China’s 23% in US dollar terms.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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