Asian shares higher on China's growth data

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Shanghai Composite Index

Last Updated at 14 Feb 2018, 07:31 GMT SSE Composite one month chart
value change %
3199.16 +

Asian shares mostly rose after China's annual economic growth rate came in above market expectations and on speculation the European Central Bank may launch a major stimulus programme.

China's economy expanded by 7.4% last year, beating forecasts for 7.2%.

The figure marks the country's weakest growth rate in 24 years but investors were relieved that China's slowdown was not as severe as thought.

The Shanghai Composite index rallied by 1.8% to close at 3,173.05.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index closed 0.9% higher at 23,951.16.

"With growth moderating in China, the next phase of the country's economic prosperity is being mapped out through fiscal regulation and sustained growth targets," said Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG.

"Those ideas mean the central government is also looking to moderate rampant speculation, encourage sustained growth for domestic demand and ensure private enterprise becomes more self-sufficient."

Rest of Asia

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 finished up 2.1% at 17,366.30 ahead of the end of the central bank's two-day policy meeting.

In South Korea, shares closed higher with the benchmark Kospi index rising 0.8% to 1,918.31.

However, Australia bucked the upward trend with the S&P/ASX 200 closing down 1.47 points at 5,307.67.

The benchmark index had fallen even further in early trade as energy stocks were hit by falling oil prices.

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