Asian shares extend losses, China data disappoints

February 3, 2014
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A city in China/FILE
A city in China/FILE
HONG KONG, Feb 3 – Asian markets sank further in holiday-thinned trade on Monday, following another global sell-off caused by anxieties over emerging markets and further disappointing manufacturing data out of China.

The euro edged up against the yen after falling in New York in response to weak eurozone inflation figures that added to fears of deflation in the currency bloc.

Tokyo fell 1.98 percent, or 295.40 points, to 14,619.13 and Seoul slipped 1.09 percent, or 21.19 points, to 1,919.96.

Sydney closed flat, edging down 2.1 points to 5,187.9 while Wellington eased 0.51 percent, or 25.08 points, to 4,849.50.

In the afternoon Manila was down 0.32 percent and Singapore was 1.11 percent off.

However, Bangkok was up 1.10 percent despite chaotic weekend elections that saw thousands of polling stations closed by opposition protestors following weeks of anti-government demonstrations.

Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur were closed for the lunar new year holiday.

Global equities tanked last week after the US Federal Reserve said it would further cut its stimulus programme, sparking fears of a flight of capital from developing nations while also sending their currencies falling against the dollar.

Even figures showing the US economy grew much quicker than expected could not ease the falls.

On Friday the Dow sank 0.94 percent, the S&P 500 fell 0.65 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.47 percent.

Earlier in Europe the FTSE 100 in London ended 0.43 percent lower, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 dropped 0.71 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris slid 0.34 percent.

“There’s still some nervousness about emerging markets,” investment adviser Christopher Macdonald told Dow Jones Newswires. “People are wondering if the jitters we saw last month are a sign of some bigger dislocation in the market.”

Adding to the downbeat outlook was official data from China pointing to a slowdown in manufacturing activity in the world’s number two economy and key driver of global growth.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 50.5 in January from 51 in December and 51.4 in November, the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. Any figure above 50 indicates expansion while anything below signals contraction.

The news came days after banking giant HSBC’s China PMI came in at a six-month low of 49.5.

In forex trade the euro fetched $1.3485 and 137.90 yen, against $1.3487 and 137.61 yen.

However, the single currency is well down from the $1.3541 and 138.98 yen earlier Friday in Tokyo.

The unit suffered on Friday after official data showed eurozone inflation fell to 0.7 percent in January, fuelling fears of deflation.

Also Friday retailers in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, reported a shock drop in business last month, according to volatile data produced by the federal statistics office Destatis.

The dollar was at 102.24 yen compared with 102.03 yen in New York Friday.

On oil markets New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for March delivery, eased 22 cents to $97.27 in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for March was down two cents at $106.38.

Gold fetched $1,245.67 an ounce at 0600 GMT, compared with $1,257.30 late Friday.

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