China shares down on 2015 growth target

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Hong Kong Hang Seng Index

Last Updated at 19 Mar 2018, 08:09 GMT Hang Seng one month chart
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31513.76 +

Shares in China fell after the country's government set its official growth target at 7% for this year.

The rate is lower than last year's target of 7.5%, which China missed after it grew at the slowest pace in 24 years.

The Shanghai Composite closed down 1% at 3,248.48, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 1.1% lower at 24,193.04.

Investors were also keeping an eye on the European Central Bank meeting later in the day and US jobs data on Friday.

The Chinese government also announced that a trial of a trading link between its Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock markets would be launched at an "appropriate time".

The move comes after a link between the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges was established in November - allowing investors to trade stocks on both exchanges.

Japanese shares were higher with the benchmark Nikkei 225 closing up 0.3% at 18,751.84.

Australian shares reversed earlier losses to close flat, with the S&P/ASX 200 index at 5,904.2.

Investors were unmoved by data that showed Japan's retail sales rose 0.4% in January.

In South Korea, the Kospi index also closed flat at 1,998.38 points.

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