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Tokyo: Stocks start new year down 0.72%


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks began the first trading day of the new year down 0.72 per cent on Monday, following new lows in oil prices and weak US economic data.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which gained more than seven percent in 2014, fell 125.09 points to 17,325.68 at the start.

Oil prices slumped to five-and-a-half year lows on Friday on signs of weak manufacturing output in Europe as Japanese markets reopened for 2015.

The euro fell to a near nine-year low after sinking on comments by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi reiterating the possibility of further stimulus measures.

Draghi said in an interview published in the German business daily Handelsblatt that deflation remains a threat and that the ECB needs to be prepared to counter it.

The euro briefly sank to $1.1865 early Monday, the lowest since March 2006, before recovering somewhat to $1.1963 against $1.2002 in New York Friday afternoon.

Against the Japanese currency the euro dropped to 143.86 yen against 144.58 yen in US trade.

The dollar was at 120.39 yen early Monday against 120.46 yen in New York Friday.

Wall Street stocks finished little-changed Friday following lacklustre US economic data and with many market participants still on holiday.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Friday the manufacturing sector slowed for the second straight month in December, partly due to falling crude prices and the labour slowdown at West Coast ports.