Asian markets climbed yesterday as dealers welcomed news that China’s economy grew in line with forecasts, while confidence was also lifted by more upbeat US data and hopes for the eurozone. Soothing comments on the economy from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday also provided support, while dealers looked ahead to a European Union summit set to begin later in the day. Shanghai rose 1.24%, or 26.07 points, to 2,131.69 while Hong Kong added 0.48%, or 102.07 points, to 21,518.71. Tokyo closed 2.00% higher, adding 176.31 points to 8,982.86 as a weakening yen boosted exporters, while Sydney gained 0.69%, adding 31.2 points to 4,559.4 and Seoul advanced 0.20%, or 3.97 points, to 1,959.12. In other markets; Singapore closed up 0.48%, or 14.69 points, at 3,060.36; Taipei was flat, edging 1.01 points higher to 7,465.41; Manila closed flat, dipping 2.44 points to 5,435.94; Wellington closed 0.93% higher, adding 36.77 points to 4,001.95; Kuala Lumpur added 0.29%, or 4.75 points, to 1,665.42; Jakarta rose 0.45%, or 19.44 points, to 4,356.97, while Bangkok finished 0.76% higher, adding 9.93 points to 1,311.21. China said its economy grew 7.4% in the third quarter to the end of September, easing for a seventh straight quarter and underscoring its weakest performance since the global financial crisis. However, the figure matched expectations, while other economic data pointed to a possible bottoming out of the economy, which has been severely hit this year by troubles in its key export markets of Europe and the US. Growth in the quarter was the slowest since 6.6% recorded in the first three months of 2009 during the global financial crisis. The economy grew 7.6% in the second quarter of 2012. But industrial output rose a better-than-expected 9.2% year on year in September, while retail sales, the main gauge of consumer spending, rose 14.2% in September. The figures follow data at the weekend showing exports, which have seen a steep drop in recent months, surged almost 10% in September. “The latest data supports our hypothesis that the economy may have bottomed and will turn for the better in the fourth quarter,” Zheng Pin, an analyst with Minsheng Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires. “This gives the market newfound confidence,” he added. On Wednesday Wen said he was confident China’s economy was stabilising and that measures put in place would ensure it would continue to do so, adding that he expected Beijing’s target of 7.5% growth for the year would be achieved. “We have confidence that with hard work we can realise the year’s economic and social development goals,” he added, although he also warned that the weak global economy would pose a challenge.