Asia relieved by China growth, IMF cuts world outlook

SYDNEY - Asian markets breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after China reported its economy had not slowed as far as many had feared, a rare glint of brightness amid gloom over the global outlook.
The IMF tried to snuff out even that by trimming its forecast for 2015 world growth by three tenths of a percent to 3.5 percent, blaming weakness in Japan and Europe.
It also called on advanced economies to maintain stimulative monetary policies to avoid increases in real interest rates as cheaper oil adds to the risk of deflation.
In the end investors seemed thankful that China's growth of 7.3 percent at least managed to pip forecasts of 7.2 percent, while retail sales and industrial production both ran ahead of predictions in December.
While growth for the year was the slowest since 1990, GDP is now 10 times as large as it was back then.
"It seems the economy is in better shape than expected," said Darius Kowalczyk, a senior economist at Credit Agricole in Hong Kong. "Growth did slow in annual terms, but year-on-year growth stabilized and momentum also improved towards the end of the quarter."
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