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Asian stocks surge, China lags on muted GDP outlook



© Reuters.

By Ambar Warrick–Most Asian stocks rose on Monday as markets reassessed their outlook for U.S. interest rate hikes, although Chinese indexes lagged their peers following a weaker-than-expected forecast on annual economic growth.

Technology-heavy bourses were the best performers, tracking a strong lead-in from Wall Street indexes. The index jumped 1.2%, while South Korea’s added 1%.

The South Korean index was also boosted by lower-than-expected data for February, which furthers the case for a pause in interest rate hikes by the Bank of Korea.

On the other hand, China’s index fell 0.6%, while the index shed 0.3% after government officials set a 5% economic growth target for 2023 over the weekend.

The target was seen as softer than analyst expectations, and presents a moderate outlook for Asia’s largest economy as it emerges from three years of COVID disruptions.

Recent data showed that Chinese rebounded sharply in February after the relaxing of anti-COVID restrictions. But the country may have to contend with a slowdown in external demand, as global economic conditions cool under rising interest rates and high inflation.

Chinese and for February is due later this week, and is expected to shed more light on Asia’s largest economy.

Broader Asian stocks advanced amid some bets that U.S. interest rates could peak in the coming months. But most bourses were also nursing steep losses from February, given that hotter-than-expected inflation readings kept fears of the Federal Reserve high.

Markets are now awaiting a on Tuesday, which is expected to provide more cues on monetary policy.

Japan’s index jumped 1.2%, with markets betting that the Bank of Japan will keep its ultra-loose policy unchanged in the near-term. Soft inflation data released on Friday furthered this notion.

The , and is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged at record lows. Any changes to the bank’s yield curve control measures are also in focus.

India’s and indexes rose 0.9% and 0.3%, respectively, in early trade. Heavyweight technology stocks tracked gains in their U.S. peers. 

Stocks under the Adani Group also extended a rally into a second session after boutique investment firm GQG Partners Inc DRC (ASX:) invested $1.87 billion in the troubled conglomerate. Adani Enterprises Ltd (NS:), the group’s flagship firm, surged nearly 9%. 

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