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South Korea stocks rise as central bank holds rates, China manufacturing contracts further

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

A Chinese flag flutters on top of the Great Hall of the People ahead of the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF), to mark 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, in Beijing, China October 18, 2023.
Edgar Su | Reuters

South Korea stock markets were up on Thursday after the country's central bank held lending rates for the seventh straight time, while China and Hong Kong equities fell as manufacturing activity in China contracted further.

South Korea's central bank has held its benchmark policy rate at 3.5%, saying that although inflation in the country has been elevated, its is still projected to slow down.

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed as investors assessed economic data from the region.

China's factory activity shrank for a second straight month in November, while non-manufacturing activity hit yet another new low for the year.

South Korea's industrial output numbers surprised the market, registering a 3.5% fall compared to expectations of a 0.5% rise from economists polled by Reuters. The country will also see its central bank announce its rate decision today.

China's CSI 300 index dipped marginally, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index also fell 0.14%.

Japan's Nikkei 225 reversed losses to rise 0.33%, with the Topix also up by 0.30%.

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.12%, while the small-cap Kosdaq gained 0.52% after the monetary policy decision.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.74% and closed at 7,087.3, marking three straight days of gains.


On Wednesday in the U.S., all three major indexes mainly remained near the flat line, even as the U.S. economy grew more than expected.

GDP in the third quarter accelerated at a 5.2% annualized pace, better than the 5% Dow Jones forecast and above the initial estimate of 4.9%.

The 30-stock Dow was up 0.04%, while the S&P 500 ticked down by 0.09% and the Nasdaq Composite slipped by 0.16%.

— CNBC's Pia Singh and Brian Evans contributed to this report

Tata Technologies surge over 140% on trading debut

Tata Technologies, a subsidiary of Indian multinational automotive company Tata Motors, debuted on the Bombay Stock Exchange at 1,199.95 Indian rupees a share, an almost 140% jump compared to its offer price of 500 rupees.

Tata Technologies shares reached a high of 1,396.85 rupees per share, representing upside of almost 180%. The stock later pared gains and hovered around 1,310 rupees a share.

It is also the first Tata Group company to list in almost 20 years, after Tata Consultancy Services in 2004.

— Lim Hui Jie

Reserve Bank of New Zealand says longer-term inflation pressures persist

Reserve Bank of New Zealand is concerned about whether inflation will ease fast enough
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RBNZ is concerned about whether inflation will ease fast enough

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said on Thursday it was less concerned about inflation cooling and more about whether it would decline fast enough.

Adrian Orr the governor of the central bank told CNBC's Squawk Box Asia, "the population growth has helped ease a lot of the labor supply issues we've had, but now we are seeing the demand implications of that."

Orr said that New Zealand's population growth has pushed up rental and housing prices.

But the central bank remains confident in its stance to bring down inflation and it can afford to wait longer for any potential rate hikes.

This arrives after the RBNZ held its official cash rate at 5.5% on Wednesday and warned that rates could go higher.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

China official manufacturing PMI contracts for a second month in November

China's factory activity shrank for a second straight month in November, signaling that the world's second-largest economy is not yet out of the woods and may require more muscular policy support.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell slightly to 49.4 in November from 49.5 in October, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics released Thursday. This was slightly worse than the median forecast for 49.7 in a Reuters poll.

For more, read the full story here.

— Clement Tan

Bank of Korea holds rates at 3.5%, as expected

South Korea's central bank held its benchmark policy rate at 3.5% for the seventh meeting in a row, in line with expectations from economists polled by Reuters.

In its announcement, the Bank of Korea said that "although inflation has been elevated than previously expected, it is projected to continue its underlying trend of a slowdown."

Most notably, the BOK thinks that concerns about a further tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve and geopolitical risks have been alleviated.

However, it also said that global economic growth is projected to continue slowing in 2024, driven by restrictive monetary policy stances in major countries.

— Lim Hui Jie