Monday, Asia had a quiet start to the week with a few economies releasing statistical reports.

Industrial output in Japan plummeted by 9.4% in February compared to the previous month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. Output fell for the fifth straight month and marked the third-largest fall on record. That was slightly worse than forecasts that called for a decline of 9% following the 10.2% decline in January.

On an annual basis, industrial output dropped 38.4% versus forecasts of a 38.1% decline after the 31% retreat in the previous month.

Japan's auto production plunged 56.2% annually in February to 481,396 units, marking the fifth consecutive month of fall, a report by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association or JAMA showed.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Korea said South Korea's current account balance in February shifted to a surplus of 3.68 billion dollars from the previous month's 1.64 billion dollars deficit.

Elsewhere, South Korea's Ministry of Strategy and Finance said state debt is expected to climb 19% to 366.9 trillion won in 2009 as the government issues bonds to fund a large-scale extra budget.

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