Most Asian stock market indices were trading higher on Monday (6 March), with the Shanghai Composite up 0.30% at 3,227.89 as of 5.40am GMT, despite China lowering its growth target for 2017.
On Sunday, the world's second largest economy set a growth target of 6.5% for this year, following the 6.7% growth it saw last year – the weakest expansion seen in 26 years.
On the positive side, China said it will bring down its soaring debt levels. Speaking to more than 3,000 Communist Party delegates at the annual National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang said his government will continue to pursue a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy. He, however, warned that China faces "more complicated and graver situations" in 2017 not only at home but overseas as well.
Investors are said to be concerned over the likely US Fed rate increase and its effect on the US dollar and global equities. "A rate hike is almost a done deal now. So the focus will be on the pace of rate hikes after that. If there's hawkish projections, the dollar could rise further," Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.54am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||23,622.05||Up||0.29%|
On 3 March the FTSE 100 closed 0.11% lower at 7,374.26 while the S&P 500 index closed 0.05% higher at 2,383.12.
Among commodities, oil prices declined amid concerns that Russia was not sticking to its recent output cut deal. As of 12.47am EST, WTI crude oil was down 0.36% at $53.14 (£43.25) a barrel, while Brent crude was trading 0.25% lower at $55.76 a barrel.