Asian shares trade lower on weak Chinese economic data

Reuters HONG KONG | Updated on August 31, 2021

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and China's benchmark CSI300 Index opens lower; Japan's Nikkei 225 drops over 0.3 per cent

Asia stock markets opened lower on Tuesday despite fresh all-time highs on Wall Street, as worries about China's slowing economic growth and regulatory changes weighed on investor sentiment.

MSCI's gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan slipped 0.25 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei 225 fell more than 0.3 per cent in the morning session.

Japan's industrial output shrank in July as car production took a hit from a resurgence of the coronavirus in Asia that has cast doubt over recovery in the world's third-largest economy.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and China's benchmark CSI300 Index opened down 0.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

China's factory activity expanded at a slower pace in August as coronavirus-related restrictions and high raw material prices pressure manufacturers in the world's second largest economy,while services activity contracted sharply, national data showed Tuesday.

Beijing on Monday cut the amount of time players under the age of 18 can spend on online games to an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays, which analysts expect to continue to weigh in on tech stocks.

"Chinese tech sector is under pressure. Divergence should continue when market faces a lot of uncertainties over Chinese policies," said Edison Pun, senior market analyst at Saxo Markets.

Australian shares, however, rose slightly for a second straight session, led by mining and technology stocks. The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2 per cent by 0130GMT.

Asia's cooler sentiment followed all-time highs set by U.S. and global equity benchmarks in the previous session, as the Federal Reserve appeared in no rush to step away from its massive stimulus.

U.S. crude fell 0.51 per cent to $68.86 a barrel and Brent was down 0.56 per cent at $73 a barrel in Asian trade as Hurricane Ida weakened into a Category 1 hurricane within 12hours of coming ashore as a Category 4.

"Eyes on OPEC+ meeting after hurricane Ida's hit, short-term supply shock is relieved and OPEC+ meeting could mean more future supply. Crude oil may return to weakness after strong rebound for about 10 per cent last week," Sun said.

Spot gold gained 0.18 per cent to $1813.54 per ounce.

Published on August 31, 2021

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