SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stock markets were higher Friday after China said its economy grew in the second quarter at its slowest pace since 2009, numbers in line with analyst expectations.
China's gross domestic product expanded 7.6 percent in the April to June period from the same period a year earlier, down from 8.1 percent growth in the first quarter. China also reported that retail sales and factory output growth slowed in June.
Equities in Asia had mostly fallen the previous few days amid speculation that China's growth may have slowed more than the consensus 7.6 percent forecast. Some analysts say expected interest rate cuts and fiscal stimulus spending by China should spur lending, investment and stronger economic growth in the second half of the year.
"All this should be positive for GDP growth in the next few quarters," said Mark Williams, chief Asian economist with Capital Economics. "Much of the impact of stronger lending over the next few months will be felt in 2013."
Williams said he expects China's economy to grow 8 percent this year and next.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index was up 0.1 percent to 8,730.28 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent at 19,103.18.
South Korea's Kospi gained 1.3 percent to 1,809.07. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.4 percent to 4,085.20 and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.2 percent to 2,189.12.
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