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Asian Stocks Rise; China Fourth Quarter GDP Slows to 6.4% as Expected

Investing.com – Asian stocks rose in morning trade on Monday, with Chinese equities in focus after data showed China’s economy cooled in the fourth quarter as expected.

China's economy grew 6.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, as expected, official data showed on Monday. The growth was slower than the previous quarter's 6.5% growth.

Full year growth for 2018 came in at 6.6%, also in line with expectations.

The Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component gained 0.7% and 0.8% respectively by 9:17 PM ET (02:17 GMT).

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also rose 0.4%.

"Falling producer prices and new export orders point to a slowdown in China's growth momentum," Raymond Yeung, chief economist for Greater China at the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, said in a CNBC report.

"To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 2019, President Xi (Jinping) will still likely launch growth-supportive policies."

Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded 0.3% in morning trade. South Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.1%, while Australia’s ASX 200 advanced 0.4%.

Asian stocks traded mostly higher on Friday following reports that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering lifting some tariffs imposed on Chinese imports.

The story was later denied by President Donald Trump, who added that there has been progress toward a trade deal with China.

"Things are going very well with China and with trade," he told reporters at the White House on Saturday. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set to visit the U.S. on Jan. 30 and 31 for a new round of trade talks.

In other news, traders are awaiting British Prime Minister Theresa May’s “Plan B” for Brexit, which is due to be presented later in the day.

Britain will leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal unless MPs could come up with an alternative plan that Brussels is also happy with.

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