Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark gauge extending its steepest monthly slump since May, after a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing growth added to concern a global economic recovery is faltering.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.5 percent to 134.18 at 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for the lowest close since Sept. 6. The measure dropped 4.6 percent in January for its third straight monthly decline. A global rout wiped about $1.9 trillion from the value of listed equities last month, spurred by weaker-than-expected economic data from China and a sell-off in emerging-market currencies.
“The real questions are how much damage has been done and are equity markets still vulnerable,” Stewart Richardson, who helps oversee about $100 million as chief investment officer at RMG Wealth Management LLP in London, said in an e-mail. Investors had “certainly believed that the Chinese economic slowdown was not of any concern. We still believe that the big picture risk-reward is skewed very much to the downside.”
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