Chinese markets including Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Composite trade slightly lower after New Year break as Japan's Nikkei jumps over seven per cent and ASX 200, Hang Seng and Kospi rise

James Nickerson
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Shanghai Composite Index Slumps Below 3,500 Points On Wednesday
No post-New Year fireworks were observed in Chinese markets (Source: Getty)

There were no post-New Year fireworks from China as its markets opened for the first time since the break with the disappointment of poor trade data.

Trading for the first time since 5 February, the Shanghai Composite traded 0.63 per cent lower at 2,746 points, while the Shenzhen Composite traded 0.05 per cent lower at 9,668 points.

The marginal fall comes on the same day that data showed that exports fell 6.6 per cent in January to Rmb1.14 trillion. Exports and imports slumped 11.2 per cent and 16.6 per cent in dollar denominated terms.

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But the intervention from the People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan at the weekend appears to have calmed jitters.

In an interview with financial magazine Caixin, Zhou said there wasn't any basis for the yuan to depreciate further, and that China doesn't need to devalue the yuan in order to make exports more competitive. The yuan strengthened against the dollar on the news.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei closed 7.16 per cent higher at 16,022 points, the biggest percentage gain since September. Japanese shares rose as the dollar strengthened against the yen, compared to last week where the Nikkei lost close to 11 per cent as the dollar fell to a 15-month low against the yen.

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That's despite Japanese GDP contracting more than expected in the fourth quarter of 2015. GDP shrank by 0.4 per cent quarter on quarter, below expectations of a just 0.2 per cent contraction. The economy shrank at an annualised rate of 1.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2015.

In South Korea the Kospi ended close to 1.5 per cent higher, while the Australian ASX 200 closed over 1.6 per cent up. Hong Kong's Hang Seng traded over three per cent higher.

European markets are expected to follow Asian markets higher this morning.

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