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Rise in Asian shares at year end

Hong Kong: Asian markets mostly rose on Monday, with Tokyo cheered by the yen's fall to a five-year low against the dollar and regional traders broadly upbeat towards the end of a tumultuous year.

Tokyo enjoyed its best performance in more than four decades in 2013, while Chinese stocks were the worst regional performer.

Tokyo rose 0.69 per cent, or 112.37 points, to close at 16,291.31 as the index surged 56.72 per cent over the past 12 months, the best annual performance since 1972.

Sydney added 0.61 per cent, or 32.7 points, to 5,356.8 and Seoul closed 0.45 per cent higher, adding 9.06 points to 2,011.34.

Shanghai slipped 0.18 per cent, or 3.72 points, to 2,097.53. Hong Kong ended flat, edging up 1.63 points to 23,244.87.

Manila and Bangkok were closed for public holidays.

Exporters were the main beneficiaries, as the weaker yen makes their goods cheaper overseas and swells the yen value of their repatriated earnings.

The dollar hit 105.41 yen in the morning session, its highest since October 2008. In the afternoon it sat at 105.38 yen compared with 105.13 yen in New York Friday.

The euro fetched 144.87 yen against 144.37 yen in New York, after touching 145.69 yen Friday, also its highest since October 2008.

This year the yen has lost about a fifth of its value against the dollar and more than a quarter against the euro.

Europe's single currency bought $1.3750 Monday against $1.3743 Friday.

The euro has enjoyed strong buying since Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, who sits on the European Central Bank's Governing Council, told a German newspaper last week that soft inflation figures should not justify unfettered monetary easing.

Global markets have seen a mixed year, with most enjoying strong buying in the first half thanks to the US Federal Reserve's stimulus programme, which provided cheap cash for investment in mostly emerging economies.

In oil trade New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery was down 11 cents at $100.21 in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for February gained 31 cents to $112.49.

Gold fetched $1,203.35 at 0810 GMT compared with $1,211.56 late Friday.



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