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Asian stocks fell overnight after data showed the Chinese economy slowed in the fourth quarter whilst gains in factory output and investment spending eased. The Chinese GDP expanded 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter, comparing to the 7.8 percent growth in the previous three months. 

The dollar continued to perform well, touching its strongest level since November against the euro on speculation the Federal Reserve will continue to reduce stimulus as the US economy improves. Data over the last few months showed that the US economy continued to outperform. Investors will no doubt be focused on the FOMC meeting next week to gauge any signs of further tapering. 

Gold continued its climb, rallying to the highest level in almost six weeks on signs of increased demand. Crude was in decline with WTI falling from the highest closing price in two weeks following the world’s second biggest oil consumer reporting a slowdown in industrial output.

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