Hong Kong shares end morning in negative territory

Hong Kong stocks fell in the morning session Thursday, in line with a sell-off in most major Asia markets, as investors took profits from a weeks-long rally.

The Hang Seng Index eased 0.31 percent, or 102.69 points, to 32,856.00 by the break.

South Korean economy grows 3.1% in 2017

Seoul: South Korea's economy grew at its fastest pace in three years in 2017, the central bank said Thursday, thanks to robust exports of tech products including semiconductors and growing consumer spending.

South – the world's 11th-largest economy and fourth-largest in Asia – expanded 3.1 percent last year, up from 2.8 percent in 2016 and the fastest since 2014's 3.3 percent, the Bank of Korea said.

“Consumer spending showed moderate improvement while investments in construction and corporate infrastructure also rose significantly,” it said in a statement.

Production in the country's manufacturing sector expanded by 4.2 percent last year — the highest since 2011 when it grew 6.5 percent.

Investment in corporate infrastructure jumped 14.6 percent — the fastest since 2010 — as local firms led by Samsung invested heavily to build or expand plants.

In 2016 Samsung Electronics — the world's largest chipmaker — invested over 40 trillion won ($37.6 billion) on infrastructure, and it is reported to have invested far more last year.

Consumer spending also rose 2.6 percent in 2017 — the fastest pace since 2011. In the fourth quarter the economy grew 3.0 percent year-on-year, the central bank added. It earlier predicted that the country's economy would grow 3.0 percent this year — in line with estimates by the IMF and OECD.

Tokyo stocks open lower as yen strengthens

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday as the yen hit a four-month high after the US treasury secretary hailed a “weak dollar” at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.78 percent or 185.64 points to 23,755.14 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.74 percent or 13.99 points at 1,887.24.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that a “weaker dollar” was good for the United States, words that sharply lowered the value of US currency on the markets.

“Obviously a weaker dollar is good for us, it's good because it has to do with trade and opportunities,” the top economic official said.

Posted on: 2018-01-25T10:35:00+05:00