Asian Shares Extend Fall After China Flash PMI
TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares, oil and copper extended losses on Thursday after data indicated little respite for Chinese manufacturers, keeping the outlook unclear whether policymakers in the world's second-largest economy will feel compelled to follow the global rush of stimulus action.
Safe-haven assets, including government bonds, rose while currencies such as the dollar gained against the euro and the yen advanced broadly on reduced risk-taking sentiment after the U.S. Federal Reserve's aggressive stimulus last week, and the Bank of Japan's further easing on Wednesday.
The HSBC flash PMI ticked up to 47.8 in September from a nine-month low in August of 47.6, but remained below 50 for an 11th month in a row, showing the sector was still contracting. An output index hit a 10-month low.
"Data would probably need to be much worse than this for Beijing to cut interest rates or reserve requirements for banks with the 18th National Party Congress round the corner," said Alan Lam, Julius Baer's Greater China equity analyst.
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> extended losses to fall 1 percent on the day after the PMI data. Losses in Australian shares <.axjo> were limited, trading down around 0.3 percent for most of the session, and the Australian dollar slipped to the day's lows around $1.0404 from around $1.0456 before the Chinese data.
Shanghai shares <.ssec> shed 1.3 percent to a two-week low, dragging Hong Kong shares <.hsi> down 0.7 percent, as the Chinese figures doused hopes of imminent policy easing.
The Nikkei stock average <.n225> slid 1.5 percent, retreating from a 4-1/2 month high on Wednesday. <.t/>
"This is a sign the slowdown in Chinese manufacturing activity is halting and stabilizing," said Hirokazu Yuihama, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.
"Market reaction may suggest they want to see some sort of steps to support the economy from authorities, which are seen as slow to take action," he said.
European equities were seen falling, with a 0.3 percent drop in U.S. stock futures suggesting a weak Wall Street open as well. Financial spreadbetters called London's FTSE 100 <.ftse>, Paris's CAC-40 <.fchi> and Frankfurt's DAX <.gdaxi> to open down as much as 0.6 percent. <.l><.eu><.n/>
SAFETY BIDS STRENGTHEN
The Chinese data underlined expectations that growth probably eased for the seventh straight quarter in the third quarter, reinforcing concerns of softening demand from the world's top consumer of many raw materials.
Data on Thursday showed Japan's exports fell for a third straight month in the year to August, with exports to China, the biggest destination for Japanese shipments, falling 9.9 percent in the year to August.
U.S. crude slipped 1 percent to $91.02 a barrel while Brent fell 0.3 percent to $107.85.
London copper shed 1.1 percent to $8,261 a metric ton, with a trader in Singapore saying some participants took profits after the China data failed to show more concrete recovery.
"The market has been too bearish on China over summer. Now they realize it's not that bad so you see some upside momentum. Still prices are not going to move up much because that demand is not that strong."
The euro fell 0.4 percent to $1.2990, while the dollar slipped 0.3 percent to 78.12 yen, backing up from a one-month high of 79.23 on Wednesday after the BOJ's stimulus measure.
As the dollar rose against a basket of key currencies <.dxy>, spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,763.24 an ounce, off a 6-1/2 month high of $1,779.10 touched on Wednesday.
Spain's reluctance to seek a bailout underpinned demand for safe-haven German bunds and also supported U.S. Treasury prices in Asia and Japanese government bonds (JGBs).
"Sovereign debt markets don't offer returns but stability is ensured by the global accommodative monetary stance and makes investments secure," said Masahide Tanaka, deputy general manager of asset management business planning department at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co Ltd.
BOJ data showed outstanding JGBs held by overseas investors hit their highest level on record at the end of June at 8.7 percent or 82 trillion yen ($1.05 trillion), up 20 percent from a year earlier, as Europe's sovereign debt crisis and global financial turmoil prompted investors to diversify away from the euro and the dollar.
Asian credit markets slumped, with the spread on the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment-grade index widening by 16 basis points.
(Additional reporting by Clement Tan in Hong Kong and Melanie Burton in Singapore; Editing by Neil Fullick and Eric Meijer)
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