Asian market mixed on Chinese data

<p>A string of economic indicators in China came in below expectations.</p>

Markets in Asia were mixed today, with Chinese shares sinking on weak economic data while other benchmarks in the region rose.

A string of economic indicators in China came in below expectations. Industrial output increased 5.9 per cent in April from the year-ago period, while six per cent was forecast by a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, retail sales grew ten per cent on-year – dragged down by weaker real estate-related sales of home appliances, furniture and construction materials – missing the expected 10.5 increase.

"The real activity data in April fell short of our and consensus forecasts across the board," said Citigroup economists in a report seen by AP. "The government may step up unconventional policies to support the economy."

Meanwhile, Greece was forced to tap into an emergency account to make a €750 million (£537 million) debt interest payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This has raised the prospect that Greece might default on its debts and leave the euro.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.6 per cent lower to 4376.71, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.6 per cent to 27249.28. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.7 per cent to 19,764.72, Seoul's Kospi was up 0.8 per cent to 2,114.16 and Sydney's S&P ASX 200 rose 0.7 per cent to 5,715.10.

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