Global Markets Get Off to a Slow Start

By Gregor Stuart HunterFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Asia-Pacific stocks got off to a slow start Tuesday, though better-than-expected Chinese credit data could be a bright spot for some pockets of the markets.

Exchange-traded funds tracking domestic Chinese equities rose overnight as government data showed banks stepped up lending last month as some activity moved out of the shadow-banking system.

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The Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF gained 2%.

"We think the strong credit growth reflects the government's willingness to provide sufficient liquidity to maintain growth stability," Goldman Sachs said. "This set of data should ease concerns in the market about a growth slowdown led by an overly tight policy stance."

The Nikkei Stock Average was recently 0.1% higher after starting the day lower. The U.S. dollar remained at around Yen113.55, the same as Monday's level when local equities trading ended.

New Zealand's benchmark eased 0.2% after logging its 42nd record closing high of 2017 on Monday. Korea's Kospi was 0.3% lower.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.1%, aided by higher commodity prices overnight. The global Brent oil benchmark rose 2% overnight on news that a major European pipeline--used in calculating Brent prices--will shut after a fracture was found. Brent, which settled at a fresh 2 1/2 -year high Monday, rose 0.1% in Asian trading.

Generally speaking, market participants are awaiting cues from global central banks. The Federal Reserve's two-day meeting starts later Tuesday. On Wednesday, a quarter-point rate increase is expected to be announced. The European Central Bank and the Bank of England also meet this week.

Bitcoin prices slipped after Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton warned about the risks to retail investors in the red-hot cryptocurrency. Prices were recently around $16,700, according to CoinDesk, after nearing $17,400 in late New York trading.

Write to Gregor Stuart Hunter at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 11, 2017 20:48 ET (01:48 GMT)