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Asia report: Markets finish weaker as China data disappoints

Fri 14 December 2018 12:14 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Markets in Asia finished lower on Friday, as investors waded through a tsunami of disappointing data from China.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 2.02% at 21,374.83, as the yen strengthened 0.06% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 113.56.

Screen manufacturer Japan Display was one of the big winners, rocking 34.62% higher amid market chatter that seeking tie-ups with Chinese companies and institutional investors.

Friday saw the release of the Tankan survey, which showed large manufacturers in the country had not wavered in their confidence compared to last quarter.

Reuters forecasts had picked a weakening in sentiment among Japan's big industrial plays.

On the mainland the Shanghai Composite was off 1.53% at 2,593.74, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite was 2.46% weaker at 1,327.42.

Fresh data out of China showed that the country's industrial production grew 5.4% year-on-year in November, which fell short of the 5.9% predicted in a Reuters poll of economists.

Retail sales also missed forecasts, coming in at 8.1% growth for the month, compared to the 8.8% markets were expecting.

Analysts said the data was proof that China's economy was facing pressures both domestically and on a world stage.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, noted that Beijing's attempts at intervention and propping up growth were still not enough.

"Even if China and the US can negotiate a lasting truce on trade, cooling global growth and the lagged impact of slowing credit growth will remain a headwind on economic activity in the coming months."

South Korea's Kospi was 1.25% lower at 2,069.38, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slid 1.62% to 26,094.79.

Oil prices were lower, with Brent crude last down 0.59% at $61.09 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate slipping 0.56% to $52.29.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.05% to close at 5,602.00, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was down 0.8% at 8,722.51, led lower by medical equipment manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which was down 4.2%.

Both of the down under dollars were weaker on the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.93% at AUD 1.3967, and the Kiwi retreating 0.97% to NZD 1.4726.

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