Nikkei leads Asia higher

Japan led Asian shares higher after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) surprised markets by announcing more stimulus measures.

The BOJ decision sought to ease monetary policy on worries that lower oil prices would affect consumer prices.

The central bank will increase the pace at which it expands base money to 80 trillion yen ($726bn; £454bn) a year, instead of 60-70 trillion yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed up 4.8% at 16,413.76 after the news.

It had hit a seven-year high of 16,455.84 in mid-afternoon trade after rising by more than 5%. The dollar rose 1.2% to 110.68 yen, the highest since January 2008.

Data released earlier in the morning, showing a weaker Japanese economy, also failed to dent investor sentiment.

The country’s annual core consumer inflation eased for a second month in September, while its jobless rate rose over the same period. Household spending also fell more than expected last month, adding to evidence that the central bank would probably maintain its massive stimulus programme.

Asian shares, meanwhile, were already up after positive economic data from the US showed strength in the world’s largest economy.