A larger-than-anticipated slowdown in Japan’s growth rate failed to dent investor hopes on Monday of more stimulus measures from the world’s central banks.
Japan’s economy grew by only 0.3 per cent in the second quarter from the previous three-month period, half the rate that was expected. It was also sharply lower from the first quarter’s upwardly revised rate of 1.3 per cent and reflected the fallout from Europe’s debt crisis and the sharp rise in the value of the yen, which makes it more difficult for the country’s export sector to compete in the international marketplace.
The news comes on top a slew of reports out of Asia that point to the region losing momentum. Most concerns about Asia have centered on China a raft of figures last week showed Chinese growth waning.
However, the selling pressure was offset as many investors think the world’s central banks will soon enact more stimulus measures in the hope of shoring up economic growth.
Gold also edged up , extending its winning streak into a seventh session as dimming prospects for global growth support expectations of more stimulus measures from central banks around the world.
While the Chinese and US monetary authorities are thought to be considering how to ease monetary policy further, the European Central Bank is expected to take a more active role firefighting Europe’s debt crisis in order to reduce the borrowing rates of Spain and Italy.
Those hopes have helped stocks, as well as the euro and oil prices, post solid gains over the past few weeks.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was unchanged at 5,847 while the CAC-40 in France was flat at 3,436. Germany’s DAX was 0.1 per cent higher at 6,953.
Wall Street was poised for a similarly subdued opening with both Dow futures and the S&P 500 futures down 0.1 per cent.
The highlights of the economic calendar this week are likely to be on Tuesday’s first estimate of economic growth in the 17-country eurozone as well as July retail sales figures for the US
Europe’s debt woes will also garner attention, especially in the wake of some weekend comments from German lawmakers that Greece wasn’t enacting enough economic reforms in return for its bailout cash.
“Greece still has the capacity to throw mud at market sentiment,” said Jane Foley, an analyst at Rabobank International.
The euro remains relatively well-supported and was trading a further 0.3 per cent higher at $1.2324.
Earlier in Asia, most stock markets closed lower, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 0.1 per cent at 8,885.15.