Asian stocks slid to their lowest level in nearly three weeks on Monday, as profit taking set in after soft Chinese factory surveys and U.S. consumer spending data raised concerns over the global economic outlook.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell as much as 0.7 percent, hitting its lowest level since Oct 14. Tokyo’s Nikkei .N225 retreated 2.1 percent.
European shares are expected to open weaker, with spread-betters looking for Germany’s DAX .GDAXI to fall 0.8 percent, France’s CAC 40 .FCHI to drop 0.9 percent, and Britain’s FTSE .FTSE to start 0.6 percent down.
Mainland China markets fell, with the main Shanghai index falling 1.2 percent .SSEC, hurt by the factory survey results and the government’s crackdown on illegal futures trading.
China’s factory activity fell for an eighth straight month in October, the Caixin purchasing manager’s index (PMI) showed, fuelling fears the economy may still be losing momentum in the fourth quarter despite a raft of stimulus measures. ECONCN
The Caixin figures followed Sunday’s official survey, which showed activity in China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in October for a third straight month.
On Friday, in the United States, data showed consumer spending in September recorded its smallest gain in eight months as personal income barely rose, suggesting some cooling in domestic demand after recent hefty increases.
“When the Fed says it is still considering a rate hike in December, there’s limited room for share prices to rise further,” said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.
The dollar lost 0.2 percent to 120.32 yen as the fall in Tokyo shares cooled risk appetite and favored the safe-haven Japanese currency.
With most central banks except the U.S. Federal Reserve committed to an easing bias, focus now falls on this week’s run of U.S. data, including the all-important non-farm payrolls due on Friday, and how they could affect the Fed’s stance on hiking interest rates.
The Fed did not hike rates last month but caused a stir by leaving the door open for a hike in December, again highlighting the divergence in monetary policies between the Fed and other central banks such as the European Central Bank and the BOJ.
“U.S. economic data bear significance for the December FOMC decision and could drive higher FX and rate volatility in the coming weeks,” strategists at Barclays wrote.
“The October FOMC statement was somewhat more hawkish than our expectations, and with the assessment on global risk having been removed, we think there is a clear attempt by the FOMC to keep a December hike on the table.”
The euro extended its Friday gains, rising 0.3 percent to $1.1038 EUR=.
By far the biggest winner in the currency market was the Turkish lira, which soared 5.6 percent to 3-month high of 2.758 lira per dollar TRYTOM=D3 after the ruling AK Party swept to an unexpected election victory on Sunday.
The results will return the country to single-party rule after five months of political instability following an inconclusive election in June, but could sharpen social divisions.
In commodities, crude oil prices slipped, unable to sustain gains made on Friday on the latest decline in the U.S oil rig count. U.S. output may be declining but global supplies of crude and refined oil products continue to grow, weighing down the market. [O/R]
U.S. crude was down 0.5 percent at $46.36 a barrel CLc1.
Spot gold XAU= touched a 4-week low of $1,134.60 an ounce, hurt by lingering worries of a potential rate hike by the Fed. Higher interest rates tend to diminish the appeal of non-yielding bullion. [GOL/]