China and Japan show hints of healing, rest of Asia still struggling



By Ian Chua

Growth in China’s services sector picked up in June while big Japanese companies planned to ramp up spending at the fastest pace in a decade, offering hope that prospects are improving for Asia’s largest economies despite sluggish factory growth.

Wednesday’s data fuelled expectations that the wobbly global economy may start levelling out in the second half of the year, but the outlook remains murky, with fears that Greece’s debt crisis could splinter the euro zone and worries about whether China can avoid a stock market crash keeping investors on edge.

Activity in China’s factory sector expanded slightly in June though not as much as expected, official surveys showed, suggesting the economy may be starting to slowly level out after a raft of support measures including interest rate cuts and more infrastructure spending.

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