Asia shares close lower as China economic data miss expectations

Shares in Asia closed lower on Friday as China reported a slew of economic data that missed expectations, deepening worries about headwinds facing the world’s second largest economy.

China reported that industrial production in November grew 5.4 percent year-on-year, lower than the 5.9 percent that Reuters projected. Retail sales in the country rose 8.1 percent last month, below the 8.8 percent expected and the weakest pace since 2003, according to Reuters’ records.

Greater China markets fell on Friday. The Shanghai composite ended the day 1.53 percent weaker at 2,593.7407 points and the Shenzhen composite closed 2.462 percent lower at 1,327.4163 points. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 1.56 percent in late Asian trade.

“The latest data show an economy that is under pressure on both the external and domestic front, with policy efforts to shore up growth still falling short,” Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note.

“Looking ahead, even if China and the US can negotiate a lasting truce on trade, cooling global growth and the lagged impact of slowing credit growth will remain a headwind on economic activity in the coming months,” he added.

Australian markets also fell. The ASX 200 declined 1.05 percent to 5,602 points at Friday’s close and the Australian dollar was at 0.7183 against the U.S. dollar, below Thursday’s 0.7226.

Other Asian markets were also in negative territory. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 1.25 percent to end the day at 2,069.38 points. Over in Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined by 2.02 percent to close at 21,374.83 points, while the Topix index was down 1.51 percent to 1,592.16 at the end of Friday’s session.