Headline indices of the Mainland China equity market advanced on Wednesday, 17 April 2019, as better-than-expected domestic economic growth data fuelling hopes of a recovery in economy. Market gains were, however, marginal amid sign of liquidity tightness in the money market. Around late afternoon, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index inclined 0.1%, or 2.65 points, to 3,256.25 The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, added 0.5%, or 9.05 points, to 1,769.07. The blue-chip CSI300 index shed 0.16%, or 6.73 points, to 4,079.07.

China reported better-than-expected economic growth data, fuelling hopes of a recovery in its economy amid concerns of a global growth slowdown. China gross domestic product expanded a seasonally adjusted 1.4% on quarter in the first quarter of 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday, down from 1.5% in the three months prior. On a yearly basis, GDP expanded 6.4% - unchanged from Q4. The bureau also said the retail sales climbed 8.7% on year in March, up from 8.2% in February and China fixed asset investment grows by 6.3%.

Investors have been watching the health of the Chinese economy — the world's second largest — amid Beijing's ongoing trade dispute with Washington.

China's overnight repurchase rate, a gauge of funding availability in the interbank market, jumped 10.6 basis points to 3% at noon, set for the highest level since April 2015. The surge in the borrowing costs came after China's first-quarter economic growth topped analysts' estimates and the central bank earlier added back the reference to keep control of liquidity floodgate after a quarterly monetary policy meeting.

China's central bank unexpectedly drained a net 6.5 billion yuan ($969.64 million) via open market operations on Wednesday, even though it lent 200 billion yuan to financial institutions via its one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF).

CURRENCY NEWS: China's yuan appreciated against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, despite soft mid-point fixing by central bank, as market sentiment improved on better-than-expected first quarter Chinese economic growth data. Prior to market opening, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 6.7110 per dollar, 13 basis points weaker than the previous fix of 6.7097. In the spot market, onshore yuan opened at 6.7100 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.7056 at midday, 72 bps firmer than the previous late session close and 0.08% stronger than the midpoint.


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