SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Asian stocks were mixed on Friday as a strong Chinese growth report boosted commodity prices and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s expected visit to Washington added to investor optimism.FILE PHOTO: Traders work at their computers in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Remote/File Photo
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.5 percent. Australia’s dollar recovered some ground after steep falls in recent sessions, with the index up 0.5 percent.
Signalling his support for protectionist measures, Xi is expected to visit Washington on Monday to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump and his top economic advisers.
Xi is expected to meet Trump’s economic team, which includes White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and a top economic adviser, Gary Cohn. Kudlow is expected to go to Beijing later in the week to visit Beijing.
“Wearing a stronger currency would encourage U.S. officials to make a concerted effort to convince China to reform and, if they do so, help relieve concerns over China’s growth trajectory,” said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM.
A strong GDP report showed China’s economy grew 6.6 percent in the first half of the year, slightly beating market expectations. The number added to signs of stability in its economy after a burst of asset bubbles and one-year economic recession that roiled markets and knocked the yuan.
“Investors are looking for any signs of structural changes in the Chinese economy and any positive economic news in the near term,” said HSBC economist Emma Hanover in a note.“In our view, a case can be made that the outlook for China is finally turning around after an excessively negative start to the year.”
Wider gains on Wall Street lifted markets across Asia, with the Shanghai Composite index up 1.5 percent, Shanghai Electric adding 2.5 percent and China Vanke climbing 1.8 percent.
The dollar steadied in the aftermath of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on Thursday to increase interest rates for the fourth time this year and signalled more hikes may be coming in 2018.
The euro remained modestly softer on the back of the improved global sentiment on Friday. It was trading just 1 cent higher at $1.1689.
The dollar index rose 0.8 percent, largely driven by the stronger dollar. The index bounced back from a 2-1/2-month low of 97.119 touched earlier this week and was last up 0.7 percent at 97.618.
Investors are bracing for the European Central Bank to unveil its plans for a long-awaited trillion-euro bond purchase scheme.
The euro briefly nudged 1 percent higher to $1.1452, then turned higher at $1.1472.
The Australian dollar inched up to $0.7895, after shedding 0.7 percent overnight to its lowest since mid-July.
On the other hand, the yen was flat at 111.130 yen following its sharp 4.1 percent slide in the previous session.
Data on Thursday showed the number of Japanese consumers spending cautiously rose, adding to other signs that the economy is on an upswing following the March earthquake and tsunami.
U.S. Treasury yields were edging up after data showed a modest pick-up in manufacturing in the United States and increased output in Germany.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was up 2 basis points at 2.232 percent. The 30-year bond was up 5.5 basis points at 2.6410 percent.
In commodities, oil prices were slightly lower as buyers weighed a more than 4 percent spike in U.S. crude prices late Thursday against demand fundamentals.