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China's shares rise after central bank cuts rates



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Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 06 Apr 2018, 06:45 GMT Nikkei 225 one month chart
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Shares in China remained higher on Monday after the mainland's central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates at the weekend for the second time since November.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.1% at 24,848.39 points in afternoon trade.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.39% at 3,323.27.

China's central bank, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), cut the benchmark one-year lending as well as the deposit rate rate by a quarter of one percent.

Analysts said the PBOC's move was aimed at warding off deflation.

A leading think tank in China said that the mainland's consumer prices inflation rate would probably increase by 1.2% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2015 - compared with 2% a year earlier - well below the government's target of 3.5%.

It also said China's economic expansion was expected to slow to 7% in the first three months of the year, lower than the 7.3% posted for the three months to December.

"Our country's economic growth still faces relatively heavy downward pressure amid structure adjustments," the State Information Centre think tank said in a research report.

The rate cut by the PBOC on Saturday came just before official factory activity data was released on Sunday.

Nicholas Teo of CMC Markets in Singapore said February's purchasing manager's index (PMI) data, which came in at 49.9, was better than analysts' expectations of 49.7.

January's official data came in at 49.8. A reading of below 50 indicates manufacturing is contracting.

"On Sunday, it became clear that China's growth is still in a mode of deceleration," Mr Teo said.

"More clues [will] be offered this Thursday when the National People's Congress meets and is scheduled to announce its growth targets for 2015."

A private report on China's factory activity released on Monday showed PMI rising to 50.7 in February from 49.7 in January.

Elsewhere in Asia

In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed up 0.15% at 18,826.88 points while Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.51% at 5,958.88.

Market watchers in Australia said the index would likely rally on Monday as investors' expectations for a another rate cut on Tuesday continued to rise.

In Korea, the Kospi share index closed up 0.55% at 1,996.81 points despite official data released on Monday showing industrial output fell 3.7% in January from a month earlier - its worst fall in some six years.

The decline in January follows an increase in December of 3.4%.

Statistics Korea said a number of one-off factors had contributed to the January data, including holidays, and that it was not all bad news.

"Without the one-off factors, January activity would have likely remained flat in monthly terms," Statistics Korea's Jeon Baek-geun said.

"It's difficult to say that the recovery has faltered. We will have to observe February numbers to know for sure."

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