Shanghai shares surge to five-year high

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Mainland Chinese shares surged on Monday to their highest in five years, leading Asian markets as they reopened for the first full week in 2015.

The Shanghai Composite jumped 3.6% to 3,350.52, after gaining 50% in 2014.

Investors are hoping for monetary policy easing in China after a private survey last week showed manufacturing activity shrank for the first time in seven months.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index fell 0.57% to 23,721.32.

Shares of Macau casino operator Melco Crown fell 3.5% after it announced a plan on Friday to withdraw its listing from Hong Kong for "cost savings" reasons.

The news came after the world's biggest gaming hub, Macau, recorded its first annual decline in gambling revenue since casinos were liberalised there in 2001.

Factories recover

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed down 0.2% at 17,408.71 despite ending 2014 up 8%.

Investors shrugged off data that showed Japan's manufacturing activity grew in December.

The Markit/JMMA purchasing managers index (PMI) was at 52, unchanged from November's reading. A score above 50 indicates growth.

The dollar, meanwhile, was steady at 120.54 yen, from 120.49 the previous day.

Euro woes

However, the euro fell to its lowest since 2006, buying just $1.18605, having fallen below an important support level of $1.20.

A combination of a strong US dollar, the possibility of further easing from the European Central Bank and of Greece exiting the eurozone exaggerated the fall on a day when trading was light.

The common currency last traded at $1.1926.

Australian shares closed higher despite a survey showing weakness in the country's manufacturing sector last month.

The Australian Industry Group's PMI fell to 46.9, below the 50 level that indicates growth.

Firms reported a sharp drop in new orders in December.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.3% to 5450.3.

In South Korea, the Kospi was lower 0.6% to 1,915.75 after closing up 0.6% on Friday.

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