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Asian stocks fall on weak China manufacturing data



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As of 07:21 20 Sep 2018

A survey showing activity in China's manufacturing sector shrank in January for the first time in more than two years hit Asian markets.

The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 49.8 in January, down from 50.1 in December. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

That echoed a private HSBC/Markit PMI survey, which fell to 49.7 in January.

The HSBC survey has been showing a contraction in China's manufacturing sector for the past two months.

In reaction, the Shanghai Composite index closed down 2.6% at 3,128.3, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.1% to 24,484.74.

But analysts said the fall in mainland stocks was also due to China's market regulator approving another 24 share flotations, raising liquidity concerns.

Rest of Asia

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 0.5% lower at 17,587.29 points.

South Korea bucked the downward trend, however, and rose 0.2% to close at 1,952.68. Its stock market is now bigger than Australia's for the first time in eight years.

The benchmark Kospi now holds a 1.88% share of the global market capitalisation of indexes, compared with Sydney's 1.85%.

Australian stocks also rose on Monday, closing 0.66% higher at 5,625.34on expectations the country's central bank may cut interest rates at its meeting tomorrow.

Stock movers

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Minsheng Bank plunged by more than 9% after its president Mao Xiaofeng suddenly resigned for "personal reasons".

Mr Mao had been the subject of local media reports saying he was under investigation by anti-corruption officials.

China's largest privately-owned bank said its operations were unaffected by Mr Mao's departure.

Meanwhile, troubled property developer Kaisa has lost its chief executive, just weeks after its chairman and chief financial officer left the company.

In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Kaisa said chief executive Jin Zhigang had resigned "to devote more time to his personal career development".

Kaisa shares have been suspended from trade since 29 December.

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