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Stocks lower amid recession fears

Asian stock markets were mostly lower amid inflation data in China that failed to meet expectations and fears of a possible recession in Europe.

Benchmark oil rose above 101 US dollars per barrel while the dollar fell against the euro and the yen.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.7% to 8,386.30, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was nearly unchanged at 19,149.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.2% to 4,181. Benchmarks in mainland China were mixed while Taiwan and Indonesia were lower.

South Korea's Kospi added 0.6% to 1,856.10. Benchmarks in Singapore and Thailand also rose.

Data showed China's inflation eased slightly in December to 4.1%, from November's 4.2%. But analysts had hoped to see more improvement.

"Chinese inflation is less than expectations, so the market is a little disappointed that it did not fall below 4%," said Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong. "I think we can say the worst of inflation is over for now, but what looms over the horizon may not be good."

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