Shanghai stocks drop to 6-month low on liquidity fears
Mainland shares dropped below the 2,000 mark for the first time in six months on Monday as fears over tight liquidity overshadowed better-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) data.
The world's second-largest economy grew 7.7 percent in the final three months of 2013, higher than market expectations for a 7.6 percent gain, but that was still below the previous quarter's 7.8 percent reading. Other data released on Monday showed industrial output grew an annual 9.7 percent, slightly below estimates while retail sales met expectations.
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"China can deliver whatever number they want, the important thing is China trying to change. Can they restructure while keeping growth rates - not so much GDP but more personal income growth rates - at a reasonably high level, that's the dilemma for 2014," said Viktor Shvets, Head of Strategy Research, Asia at Macquarie.
Shanghai 0.7% lower
China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index closed at its lowest level since July 30 after short term money market rates rose, with the seven-day repurchase rate rising to 6.42 percent on Monday, the second highest level since December.
That saw financial stocks underperform with Minsheng Bank declining 1.6 percent while China Construction Bank (CCB) dropped 0.8 percent.
In the property sector, Gemdale and Shanghai Shimao rose 1 and 0.7 percent, respectively after data showed that total property sales rose 26.3 percent to 8.14 trillion yuan in 2013, an annual 10 percent gain.
Nikkei down by 0.6%
Japan's benchmark index inched up from a one week low of 15,574 in the earlier session, as dollar-yen also hit a one-week low below the 104 level. Index heavyweight Fast Retailing shed 1.6 percent while Panasonic declined 2 percent.
Australia slips 0.2%
Australia's benchmark index extended last Friday's losses to end 0.2 percent lower. Financial stocks took the greatest hits with investment bank Macquarie Group leading losses by more than 1 percent.
Uranium miner Paladin Energy added 1 percent after selling a 25 percent stake in its Namibian mine to a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) for $190 million.
Meanwhile, on the economic front, a private gauge of inflation showed consumer prices rose to 2.7 percent in December, the most in almost 3 years. Traders are now looking ahead to the government's measure of consumer prices on Wednesday.
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Kospi rises by 0.5%
South Korean stocks reversed earlier losses to close in positive territory, thanks to a slightly weaker currency and strong institutional buying. Samsung Electronics rallied nearly 2 percent higher while Hyundai Motor gained 1 percent.
Earlier in the session, the benchmark Kospi index hit a more than one week low.
Emerging markets mixed
Thailand's benchmark SET index fell half a percent, after explosions shook Bangkok on Sunday as political unrest continues. Meanwhile, Indian shares rose 0.4 percent.
— By CNBC.com's Tang See Kit.