China stocks end higher as country’s GDP hits record growth | Reuters

China stocks ended higher on Friday, as investors cheered robust GDP growth recorded in the first quarter, though lingering worries over policy tightening by Beijing pushed equities to post a weekly loss.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.4% at 4,966.18, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8%to 3,426.62.

** China’s economic recovery quickened sharply in the first quarter from a coronavirus-induced slump earlier last year, propelled by stronger demand at home and abroad and continued government support for smaller firms.

** The country’s GDP jumped a record 18.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday, slower than the 19% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, and following 6.5% growth in the fourth quarter last year.

** “The GDP data is a bit better than my expectations, while the robust corporate earnings for the year of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 could also help provide support for the A-share market,” said Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune Securities.

** Though stocks lost ground for the week on persistent worries that recent upbeat economic data could reinforce Beijing’s policy tightening bias, even as Beijing had pledged no sudden policy shift. The CSI300 dropped 1.4%, while SSEC slipped 0.7%.

** Also souring sentiment were ongoing tensions between Beijing and Washington.

** U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will present a united front on Taiwan, China’s most sensitive territorial issue, in a summit meeting on Friday, according to a senior U.S. administration official.

** Separately, U.S. Congressional China hawks are urging the Biden administration to restrict sales of chip-making tools to Chinese companies, similar to an action taken against telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co . (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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