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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks fall as China economic growth drops to lowest in about 30 years

Chinese lenders, Cathay Pacific, Zee Entertainment among key losers on A300 index

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan declined Friday after China's economic growth slowed further in the third quarter amid the ongoing trade conflict.

The Nikkei Asia300 index slid 0.4% to 1,286.02.

Data released on Friday showed that China's economy grew 6% in the third quarter, down from 6.2% in the previous quarter and below the 6.1% reading expected by economists. The fall in economic growth to the lowest in almost three decades came amid a long-running trade dispute with the U.S.

Apart from the trade conflict, Goldman Sachs blamed slower global growth and less-than-fully supportive domestic policy environment for the weak growth.

In other data released on Friday, China's industrial production growth improved to 5.8% in September from 4.4% in the prior month and retail sales growth quickened to 7.8% from 7.5%.

"The rebound in September data was mostly the result of administrative measures to boost growth to ensure quarterly growth did not fall too much," Goldman Sachs said. "We don't expect this to represent a turning point in broad growth momentum, especially given policy supports remain measured so far."

The Shanghai Composite fell 1.3% on Friday and the Chinese yuan lost 0.1% at 7.0858 to the dollar.

The GDP data came a week after the U.S. and China agreed to a preliminary trade agreement. If a definitive deal is signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next month, it could potentially lessen the challenging outlook on the Chinese economy.

Among the major Chinese companies to fall Friday, Bank of China slipped 0.6%, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China declined 1.1%, and China Shenhua Energy ended 0.6% lower.

Elsewhere, Cathay Pacific Airways fell 2.2% after saying the combined passengers carried by the full-service international airline and its regional unit Cathay Dragon in September dropped 7.1% on year.

NMDC advanced 6.6% and Bharat Heavy Electricals surged 22.2% in Mumbai. The Indian government is looking to bring down its stake in the two state-owned companies, CNBC-TV18 reported yesterday.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises fell 5.6% after the Indian media company's second-quarter net profit missed estimates.

Index heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing slipped from near record highs, falling 0.2%. The company late yesterday reported September quarter net income that exceeded estimates and provided guidance for the current quarter that was at the higher end of forecasts.

Keppel Corp. dropped 2% after the Singapore conglomerate reported that third-quarter net profit declined 30% year-on-year.

--Nimesh Vora

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