Asian markets higher after US growth data

HONG KONG - Asian markets climbed on Monday following a record lead from Wall Street after US economic growth figures came in well above expectations.

Chinese shares picked up after the mainland's central bank last week injected funds into financial markets to calm fears of a cash crunch.

Sydney climbed 0.51 per cent, or 26.7 points, to end at 5,291.9 and Seoul rose 0.68 per cent, or 13.54 points, to close at 1,996.89.

Shanghai added 0.24 per cent, or 4.91 points, to end at 2,089.71, the first positive close in 10 sessions. In the afternoon Hong Kong was 0.46 per cent higher.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

US shares rallied on Friday after the Commerce Department said the US economy grew 4.1 per cent year-on-year in July-September, much faster than estimated and up from 2.5 per cent clocked up in the previous three months.

It was the strongest growth in the world's largest economy since the fourth quarter of 2011, when the pace hit 4.9 per cent.

The news came after a decision by the Federal Reserve to trim its stimulus programme by $10 billion to $75 billion a month from January, citing a pick-up in the economy and falling unemployment.

On Wall Street Friday, the Dow added 0.26 per cent and the S&P 500 rose 0.48 per cent - both ending at record highs - while the Nasdaq climbed 1.15 per cent. Chinese shares rebounded after suffering a sell-off Friday on concerns about a cash crunch similar to one that hit in June.

Dealers welcomed a huge injection of liquidity into financial markets last week by the central People's Bank of China after interbank borrowing rates - which lenders charge each other to borrow cash - shot up.

The bank pumped 300 billion yuan (US$49.4 billion) into the market, sending rates falling from 8.2 per cent on Friday to 5.57 per cent in early trade on Monday.

The turmoil last week came as banks and other investors scrambled for cash as they approach the end of the year, when they typically have to meet regulatory requirements and funding demands from companies.

In forex trade the dollar bought 104.04 yen compared with 104.06 yen in New York Friday. The euro bought $1.3681 against $1.3671, while it was at 142.34 yen from 142.31 yen

Oil prices were lower. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, was down 10 cents at $99.22 in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for February eased ten cents to $111.67.

Gold fetched $1,204.40 at 0700 GMT compared with $1,195.25 late Friday.

In other markets: - Taipei rose 0.57 per cent, or 47.93 points, to 8,456.46.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. gained 1.96 per cent to Tw$104.0 while Cathay Financial Holdings was 1.08 per cent higher at Tw$47.0.

- Wellington rose 0.89 per cent, or 41.44 points, to 4,722.64.

Fletcher Building added 1.67 per cent to NZ$8.54, Telecom added 1.30 per cent to NZ$2.34 and Air New Zealand was off 1.52 per cent at NZ$1.62.