While Asian stock markets were tracing a mixed pattern, China's Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.47% at 2,887.59 on Monday (7 March) at 5.22am GMT. Asian shares hit two-month highs following positive US non-farm payroll data released on 4 March. This seems to overshadow the 5 March announcement made by Beijing cutting its economic target for the next five years.
China announced an average economic growth target of 6.5% to 7% and unveiled the lowest defence budget increase in six years as it opened its annual National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing. In his address to around 3,000 Communist Party delegates, Premier Li Keqiang said the economy faced downward pressures from weak trade growth, fluctuating commodity and stock prices and growing geopolitical tensions.
Naoki Tashiro, president of TS China Research said: "Chinese investors weren't expecting big fiscal stimulus at all so there's no disappointment there. Talk of fiscal stimulus mainly came from foreigner investors."
US nonfarm payrolls data showed that 242,000 new jobs were added in February, beating the forecast figure of 190,000. This indicated a recovery in the US manufacturing sector and eased investor worries of the world's biggest economy falling into recession.
Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management said: "The US job data helped to push back excessive pessimism on the US economy. A brightening US economic outlook is underpinning various risk assets."
Indices in the rest of Asia traded as follows on 7 March at 5.30am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||20,144.47||Down||0.16%|
|India||CNX Nifty||Holiday (Mahashivratri)|
Meanwhile, last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,006.77, up 0.37%, while the FTSE 100 closed higher by 1.13% at 6,199.43 on 4 March.
Among commodities, WTI crude oil was trading 1.84% higher at $36.58 (£25.75, €33.28) a barrel, while Brent was up 1.86% at $39.44 a barrel on 7 March at 5.39am GMT.