China shares hit 4-month high

<p>Downbeat data prompted China’s central bank to commit to more stimulus.</p>

Chinese shares reached new highs today (May 21st) after the release of downbeat Chinese manufacturing data, which prompted the country's central bank to commit to more stimulus.

Mainland Chinese stocks rallied to their highest level in four months after Beijing announced it will reform its financial markets this year, including measures to increase the yuan's role internationally, as well as changes in taxation, deposit rates and state-owned enterprises.

The government's guidelines for economic reform also plan for an experimental investment link between the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock exchanges, only a few months after a link between Shanghai and Hong Kong was implemented.

The Shanghai Composite index ended 3.2 per cent up at 4,417.55, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 0.4 per cent higher at 27,693.54.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.1 per cent to 20,220.78, South's Korea Kospi lost 0.8 per cent to 2,123.36 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.9 per cent to 5,659.80.

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