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Asian shares slide as soft China surveys, US data sap risk appetite

Asian shares slide as soft China surveys, US data sap risk appetite

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell as much as 0.7 per cent, hitting its lowest level since Oct 14. Tokyo's Nikkei retreated 2.1 per cent.

Profit taking set in after soft Chinese factory surveys and US consumer spending data raised concerns over the global economic outlook. Photo: Reuters Profit taking set in after soft Chinese factory surveys and US consumer spending data raised concerns over the global economic outlook. Photo: Reuters

Asian stocks slid to their lowest level in nearly three weeks on Monday, as profit taking set in after soft Chinese factory surveys and US consumer spending data raised concerns over the global economic outlook.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell as much as 0.7 per cent, hitting its lowest level since Oct 14. Tokyo's Nikkei retreated 2.1 per cent.

European shares are expected to open weaker, with spread-betters looking for Germany's DAX to fall 0.8 per cent, France's CAC 40 to drop 0.9 per cent, and Britain's FTSE to start 0.6 per cent down.

Mainland China markets fell, with the main Shanghai index falling 1.2 per cent, hurt by the factory survey results and the government's crackdown on illegal futures trading.

China's factory activity fell for an eighth straight month in October, the Caixin purchasing manager's index (PMI) showed, fuelling fears the economy may still be losing momentum in the fourth quarter despite a raft of stimulus measures.

The Caixin figures followed Sunday's official survey, which showed activity in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in October for a third straight month.

On Friday, in the United States, data showed consumer spending in September recorded its smallest gain in eight months as personal income barely rose, suggesting some cooling in domestic demand after recent hefty increases.

"When the Fed says it is still considering a rate hike in December, there's limited room for share prices to rise further," said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

The dollar lost 0.2 per cent to 120.32 yen as the fall in Tokyo shares cooled risk appetite and favoured the safe-haven Japanese currency.

With most central banks except the US Federal Reserve committed to an easing bias, focus now falls on this week's run of US data, including the all-important non-farm payrolls due on Friday, and how they could affect the Fed's stance on hiking interest rates.

The Fed did not hike rates last month but caused a stir by leaving the door open for a hike in December, again highlighting the divergence in monetary policies between the Fed and other central banks such as the European Central Bank and the BOJ.

"US economic data bear significance for the December FOMC decision and could drive higher FX and rate volatility in the coming weeks," strategists at Barclays wrote.

"The October FOMC statement was somewhat more hawkish than our expectations, and with the assessment on global risk having been removed, we think there is a clear attempt by the FOMC to keep a December hike on the table."

The euro extended its Friday gains, rising 0.3 per cent to $1.1038.

By far the biggest winner in the currency market was the Turkish lira, which soared 5.6 per cent to 3-month high of 2.758 lira per dollar after the ruling AK Party swept to an unexpected election victory on Sunday.

The results will return the country to single-party rule after five months of political instability following an inconclusive election in June, but could sharpen social divisions.

In commodities, crude oil prices slipped, unable to sustain gains made on Friday on the latest decline in the U.S oil rig count. US output may be declining but global supplies of crude and refined oil products continue to grow, weighing down the market.
US crude was down 0.5 per cent at $46.36 a barrel.

Spot gold touched a 4-week low of $1,134.60 an ounce, hurt by lingering worries of a potential rate hike by the Fed. Higher interest rates tend to diminish the appeal of non-yielding bullion.