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S&P/ASX 200 falls 0.85% as China reports 2.3% GDP growth in 2020

Brent crude oil prices fell more than 2% to settle at US$55.10 per barrel on Friday as concerns about Chinese cities in lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreaks tempered a rally.

Lithium Australia NL - S&P/ASX 200
Gold prices dropped to their lowest in 1-1/2 months today as a stronger US dollar made it expensive for other currency holders.

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) has made a soft start to the new week as the index fell 57 points or 0.85% lower to 6,659 points at 1.57 pm.

Losses are being led by the materials (-1.94%) and financial (-1.32%) sectors, with energy (-0.82%) also among the larger decliners.

Afterpay surpasses Tesltra

On Friday, Afterpay Ltd (ASX:APT) leapfrogged telco giant Tesltra (ASX:TLS) in terms of market cap, rising to $38 billion.

The buy-now-pay-later company again touched a new all-time high on the open today, popping 5.5% to $140.40 before falling back and is now reversing 0.62%.

Chinese GDP grows

China reported a 2.3% rise in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 as the world struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country’s GDP grew by 6.5% in the fourth quarter from a year ago, official data from National Bureau of Statistics showed.

However, Chinese consumers remained reluctant to spend, as retail sales fell 3.9% for the year. Retail sales for the fourth quarter rose 4.6% from a year ago.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) (+31.31%), Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) (+11.69%), Great Boulder Resources Ltd (ASX:GBR) (+20.00%), Anson Resources Ltd (ASX:ASN) (+23.33%), Lake Resources N.L. (ASX:LKE) (+30.43%), Jindalee Resources Limited (ASX:JRL) (+14.22%) and CardieX Ltd (ASX:CDX) (+10.00%).

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