World Bulletin / News Desk
Asian markets failed Tuesday to hold on to early gains following news that China's economy grew more than expected in the first three months, with trade and geopolitical tensions still dogging sentiment.
The 6.8 percent reading was slightly more than tipped in an AFP survey and came despite a brewing trade dispute with the United States, a drive to address the country's troubling debt mountain and a war on pollution that saw factory production cut.
Hong Kong fell 0.8 percent and Shanghai finished down 1.4 percent. Sydney, where a number of firms that rely on Chinese business are based, was flat, but Singapore added 0.2 percent.
Tokyo closed slightly higher while Seoul eased 0.2 percent, Wellington dipped 0.7 percent and Taipei fell more than one percent.
"The economic performance continued to improve and the economy was off to a good start," said National Statistics Bureau spokesman Xing Zhihong.
However, Xia Le, chief Asia economist at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA in Hong Kong, said ahead of the release that "growth headwinds remain in place, mainly from domestic policy tightening and trade skirmishes from the US. Growth is most likely to moderate through the year."
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