Asian markets join global slide on growth concerns

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Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday after weak manufacturing data out of the US and Europe raised concerns about the global economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.6% while the broader Topix plunged 2.9%.

US stocks had also ended lower after a closely-watched monthly survey showed US factory output expanded at a slower pace than expected.

A Markit survey also showed eurozone manufacturing activity hit a one-year low in September.

Chang Wei Ling from Mizuho Bank wrote in a research note that there were "fears that the eurozone economy is contracting at the same time as the US and UK are entering a soft growth patch".

"This hurt sentiment towards US stocks, which are also weighed by an Ebola scare given news of the first confirmed Ebola case in the US, as well as the start of earnings season."

Japan's biggest exporters suffered the worst falls after the Japanese yen strengthened in value against the US dollar, eating into their profitability.

The Japanese government has been trying to weaken the yen to make them more competitive overseas.

Toyota led the declines with a 3.5% drop, Sony lost 3.3% and All Nippon Airways plunged 4.8%.

Elsewhere in the region, South Korea's Kospi ended 0.8% lower while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.7% lower.

Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed for a public holiday.

Meanwhile, Australia reported its trade deficit narrowed to $787m Australian dollars in August, from A$1.4bn the previous month, giving a lift to the Australian dollar.

Investors are now set to turn their attention to Europe, where its central bank holds its latest policy meeting on Thursday.

However, analysts are not expecting European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to announce any new stimulus measures.