Asia stocks mixed on renewed Fed rate hike speculation

<p>Some investors believe recent China data strengthens the case for a 2015 rate hike.</p>

Asian stocks remained flat today (October 20th) after China's better-than-expected quarterly growth figure renewed speculation that the US Federal Reserve could start raising rates this year.

China's economy slowed further in the third quarter of the year, growing 6.9 per cent, the weakest rate since the start of the global financial crisis. However, it fared better than market expectations. A growth of 6.8 per cent had been forecast by analysts.

The economic data reassures investors that the government stimulus was having a positive impact, but some analysts believe this also strengthens the case for a 2015 rate hike, according to AP.

Meanwhile, commodity prices were hit by China’s soft growth data and dampened risk sentiment.

"Pressure on the metals and mining industry has been unrelenting and, to be honest, doesn’t look like improving any time soon," ANZ commodity strategist Daniel Hynes told Business Day.

"The data out yesterday was particularly worrying for commodities considering electricity production, industrial production (and) fixed asset investment all fell. There’s been an implicit feeling that demand would pick up in the fourth quarter. Those numbers potentially derail that outcome."

Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.4 per cent to 18,207.15 and China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5 per cent to 3,403.51. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.6 per cent to 22,929.51 while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.5 per cent to 2,039.35. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.7 per cent to 5,235.60.

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