South Korea stocks rise as central bank holds rates, China manufacturing contracts further

South Korea stock markets were up on Thursday after the country’s central bank held lending rates for the seventh straight time, while China and Hong Kong equities fell as manufacturing activity in China contracted further.

South Korea’s central bank has held its benchmark policy rate at 3.5%, saying that although inflation in the country has been elevated, its is still projected to slow down.

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed as investors assessed economic data from the region.

China’s factory activity shrank for a second straight month in November, while non-manufacturing activity hit yet another new low for the year.

South Korea’s industrial output numbers surprised the market, registering a 3.5% fall compared to expectations of a 0.5% rise from economists polled by Reuters. The country will also see its central bank announce its rate decision today.

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China’s CSI 300 index dipped marginally, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also fell 0.14%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 reversed losses to rise 0.33%, with the Topix also up by 0.30%.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.12%, while the small-cap Kosdaq gained 0.52% after the monetary policy decision.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.74% and closed at 7,087.3, marking three straight days of gains.

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