Asian markets tumble after China slashes growth target

<p>The country is targeting a seven per cent growth this year.</p>

Asian stocks were mostly lower today (March 5th) as China reduced its GDP growth target at seven per cent for 2015, the lowest target in 11 years. It is down from 7.5 per cent last year, a target that was nearly missed as China's economy expanded 7.4 per cent in 2014, its slowest pace in nearly a quarter century.

Premier Li Keqiang said in a report to China's ceremonial national legislature that the goal was part of overall efforts to create a "moderately prosperous society." 

"I think the government doesn't want to come out and say that they are expecting 6 percent growth so they say about seven per cent, but they are clearly playing catch-up," Fraser Howie, managing director at Newedge Singapore, told CNBC. "You will see more stimulus measures of various forms, which can be quite positive for the markets as you see more liquidity in the markets."

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.6 per cent to 24,309.53 and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.2 per cent to 3,240.41. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.4 per cent to 5,880.70. 

Japan's Nikkei 225 ended 0.3 per cent up to 18761.36. South Korea's Kospi remained flat at 2,000.56.

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