Asian stocks mostly lower as Japan enters recession

<p>Asian stocks tumbled after it emerged Japan has entered recession.</p>

Most Asian stocks declined today (November 17th) after new data showed Japan's economy unexpectedly entered recession.

Official figures showed the Japanese economy shrank 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter between July and September this year, while analysts bet on a 0.5 per cent growth. It followed a revised 1.9 per cent contraction in the second quarter of 2014.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now expected to delay a sales tax rise due next October: "In light of the sharp fall in today's preliminary estimate, it now looks likely that PM Abe will call off the hike and announce snap elections," Marcel Thieliant from Capital Economics said in a report seen by AFP.

Tokyo stocks fell 2.96 per cent to 16,973.80. Seoul was flat at 1,943.63, while Shanghai closed 0.19 per cent lower to 2,474.01 and Hong Kong slipped 1.21 per cent to 23,797.08.

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