Asian markets fell on Thursday after a survey of Chinese manufacturers proved surprisingly soft, while the Australian dollar weakened due to its role as a whipping boy when activity in the Asian giant disappoints.
The flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 49.6 in January, from December’s 50.5, suggesting a mild slowdown at the end of 2013 has continued into the new year.
“The weak flash PMI will inevitably inflame China slowdown worries, but this is only one data point,” said Linus Yip, a strategist with First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. “If more data start to also show a deeper slowdown, Beijing may be forced to stimulate in order to maintain a stable basis for growth that they need to execute reforms.
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