Asian stocks mostly fell on Thursday as fresh data signalling a further loss of momentum in China’s economy weighed on sentiment, while the yen slid to multi-year lows against the dollar and euro. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.3 percent, briefly touching a three-week low.
The China flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index published on Thursday showed factory output contracted in the world’s third-biggest economy for the first time in six months. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.1 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent.
Further declines in oil and other commodities such as iron ore and coal prices weighed on some bourses. Australian shares shed 0.4 percent to give up this year’s gains. Tokyo’s Nikkei, on the other hand, edged up 0.1 percent, putting it within reach of a seven-year high that the index reached last week.
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