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Nikkei Surmounts 38K for First Time since ‘90

Asia-Pacific markets rebounded after mostly falling on Wednesday, while Japan entered a technical recession as its GDP contracted for a second straight quarter.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 regained 454.62 points, or 1.2%, to 38,157.94, the first time the index closed above the 38,000 mark since 1990.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 65.25 points, or 0.4%, to 15,944.63.

Japan’s GDP for the fourth quarter fell 0.4% on an annualized basis, a sharp miss from the 1.4% growth expected by economists polled by Reuters. This follows a 3.3% contraction in the third quarter.

Two consecutive quarters of contraction are widely considered a technical recession.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, it slipped 0.1%, compared with a 0.3% rise expected in the Reuters poll.

Following the contraction, Japan lost its spot as the world’s third-largest economy to Germany.

Singapore saw its fourth-quarter GDP grow 2.2% year on year, lower than the 2.5% expected. The city state also revised its third-quarter GDP growth rate from 2.8% to a sharply lower figure of 1%.

In other markets,

Markets in Shanghai remained shuttered for the Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Straits Times Index revived 37.62 points, or 1.2%, to 3,176.69.

In Korea, the Kospi fell 6.62 points, or 0.3%, to 2,613.80.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 dipped 21.28 points, or 0.2%, to 11,640.04.

In Australia, the ASX 200 recaptured 57.98 points, or 0.8%, to 7,605.72.