Asian shares mostly rose after China’s annual economic growth rate came in above market expectations and on speculation the European Central Bank may launch a major stimulus programme.
China’s economy expanded by 7.4% last year, beating forecasts for 7.2%.
The figure marks the country’s weakest growth rate in 24 years but investors were relieved that China’s slowdown was not as severe as thought.
The Shanghai Composite index rallied by 1.8% to close at 3,173.05.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index closed 0.9% higher at 23,951.16.
“With growth moderating in China, the next phase of the country’s economic prosperity is being mapped out through fiscal regulation and sustained growth targets,” said Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG.
“Those ideas mean the central government is also looking to moderate rampant speculation, encourage sustained growth for domestic demand and ensure private enterprise becomes more self-sufficient.”
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