Asian stocks keep sliding over interest rates worries

<p>Weak Chinese data also dampened the mood.</p>

Asian stocks fell again today (March 11th) amid speculation the Federal Reserve is moving closer to raising interest rates after the release of better-than-expected US government employment data for February last week.

The release of Chinese industrial output data dampened the mood, highlighting the slowest start to a year since 2009, with retail sales below estimates in the January-February period.

This follows the release of mixed Chinese inflation data yesterday, which showed the country's wholesale prices fell 4.8 per cent year-on-year in February, compared to forecasts of a 4.3 per cent fall.

Along with the US rate worries, softer Chinese data "contributed to the souring of the market's mood," Rabobank analysts wrote in a commentary seen by AP. "The current trend in economic activity implies that the official government target for GDP growth set at 7.0 per cent year-on-year is optimistic and supports our view that the People's Bank of China will ease policy further."

South Korea’s Kospi edged down  0.1 per cent to 1,983.50, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.4 per cent to 23,797.92. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.2 per cent to 3,279.96 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.5 per cent lower at 5,793.20. Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended 0.6 per cent up to 18,783.93 as the dollar strengthened against the yen. 

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