Asian shares start week with drop

<p>Asian shares are down across the board today.</p>

Disappointing economic data released by both China and Japan has contributed to a fall in Asian stock markets during trading today (March 10th).

The new week has got off to a bad start as a result of the figures, which led to Japan revising down its 2013 growth estimates. China also revealed in a new set of economic data that its exports have dropped by 18.1 per cent, in a move that surprised analysts.

This led to drops for all the major Asian indexes over the course of the session, with the Hong Kong's Hang Seng index and the Shanghai Composite each down by more than 1.6 per cent. The Nikkei, the main stock market in Japan, was also down for the day and ended the session over one per cent down, reports BBC News. The Nikkei had hit a five-week high last week.

Economic targets

China's finance minister Lou Jiwei stated that it would be acceptable if the country slightly missed its targets for economic growth. The nation is aiming to grow its economy by 7.5 per cent this year to ease fears from investors of a slowdown in the country's growth.

"Whether GDP growth is to the left or to the right of 7.5 per cent, that is not very important," said Mr Lou, according to a report by international news agency Reuters.

Also included in the newly released economic data for China was that the country reported a slowdown in inflation, with a drop to two per cent in February from 2.5 per cent in January shown in the figures. This was noted by the Asian nation to be the slowest rate in 13 months.

Japan has reported its largest deficit since 1985 and the country also revised its 2013 economic growth from one per cent to 0.7 per cent, indicating that the nation is yet to put the impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster behind it.

The clear-up operation at Fukushima is ongoing and the Japanese government has had to pay large sums to make the site safe in the wake of the nuclear accident.

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