Asian shares rise on upbeat China GDP data

<p>Better-than-expected China growth data reassured investors.</p>

Asian stocks mostly rose today (January 20th) after China released data showing its economy grew faster than expected, amid ongoing speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) is to launch a large stimulus programme.

China's fourth quarter gross domestic product reached 7.3 per cent from the year-ago period. This was slightly higher than the 7.2 per cent forecast by analysts.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose nearly two per cent, after plunging 7.7 per cent yesterday as regulators punished three major brokerages for rule violations. 

"The speculation is that the ECB will come up with large scale QE and that’s what the market is playing at the moment,” Mark Andersen, co-head of global asset allocation at UBS Group AG’s wealth-management unit, told Bloomberg. "On the China side the positive story today was that we didn’t see the economy slow further."

Tokyo shares soared 2.07 per cent to 17,366.30 while Seoul closed 0.82 per cent higher to 1,918.31. Shanghai gained 1.82 per cent to 3,173.05 and Hong Kong rose 0.90 per cent to 23,951.16. 

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