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Asian shares mixed in muted post-Christmas trade

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Asian markets were mixed Friday with trade quiet across the region as key bourses remained closed for the Christmas holidays.

[HONG KONG] Asian markets were mixed Friday with trade quiet across the region as key bourses remained closed for the Christmas holidays.

Tokyo slipped 0.17 per cent by the break, while Shanghai edged up 0.18 per cent, Shenzhen added 0.04 per cent and Seoul was up 0.24 per cent in morning trade.

Trade was muted in Asia as stock exchanges in Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Indonesia were closed Friday for a public holiday.

There was also no overnight guidance from Europe or the US markets, which were closed for Christmas.

In Japan, fresh data showed the nation's industrial output suffered a surprise drop in November, turning down after two months of rises.

Japanese core consumer inflation continued to slow in November, data also showed, despite efforts by the government and central bank to make a clear break from deflation.

In China, market sentiment was a little more upbeat after the government announced new corporate support policies, dealers said.

Oil prices rose in Asia Friday as dealers reacted to a surprise Islamist attack on Libya's main oil terminals that left 22 soldiers dead.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for February delivery rose 28 cents to US$56.12 in mid-morning trade, while Brent for February gained 13 cents to US$60.37.

Since fresh clashes between government forces and the jihadists erupted on December 13, Libya's oil production has dropped to nearly 350,000 barrels per day compared with 800,000 previously, according to industry experts.

Production in Libya, a member of the Opec oil-producing cartel, has only just started to rise following a prolonged disruption due to civil unrest.

On the currency markets, the dollar was at 120.36 yen early Friday, compared with 120.14 in Asian trade Thursday, while the euro bought $1.2209 and 146.94 yen, against US$1.2216 and 146.78 yen Gold was at $1,184.17 an ounce, compared with US$1,179.80 late Christmas Eve.

AFP