HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets mostly slipped Tuesday, with Hong Kong hit for a second successive day as a pro-democracy protest in the city showed no signs of letting up, while a measure of Chinese manufacturing came in below forecast.
Traders took their cue from a negative Wall Street, while Japanese shares were hit by a surprise fall in factory output while the yen edged up against the dollar.
Hong Kong was down 1.20 per cent in late trade, extending Monday’s 1.90 per cent losses.
Tokyo closed 0.84 per cent lower, shedding 137.12 points at 16,173.52, while Seoul gave up 0.32 per cent, or 6.51 points, to end at 2,020.09.
However, Sydney added 0.54 per cent, or 28.58 points, to 5,292.8 and Shanghai climbed 0.26 per cent, or 6.16 points, to 2,363.87.
In Hong Kong a second night of mass protests passed off peacefully Monday, bringing relief after Sunday night saw police fire tear gas and pepper spray at protestors in the financial hub.
However, some of the city’s key roads remained closed off, with the demonstrators refusing to move until Beijing agrees to its demands for full universal suffrage.
The campaign comes as China’s Golden Week holiday begins on Wednesday, when big-spending mainlanders visit the city’s luxury stores.
However, while there are fears about the impact on the city’s economy Laura Luo, head of Hong Kong and China equities at Baring Asset Management, said the effects of the stand-off on Hong Kong stocks would be limited.
“It is natural for investors to choose to take profit in an event like this, but any major market plunge may present a good entry point for long-term investors,” she told Dow Jones Newswires.
Adding downward pressure on shares was HSBC’s final purchasing managers index (PMI) which came in at 50.2 for September.
While it was above the 50 point level that separates growth from contraction, it is lower than the 50.5 predicted in last week’s preliminary reading and adds to fears about the Chinese economy following a series of soft data.
In Japan official data showed factory production unexpectedly fell 1.5 per cent month-on-month in August, reversing a 0.4 per cent uptick in July. Output grew at its fastest rate in more than two years in January before losing steam.
Also, household spending dropped a steeper-than-expected 4.7 per cent in August, logging a year-on-year drop for the fifth straight month since a sales tax rise in April. The figures raised concerns that the tax hike continues to weigh on consumption and the economy.
Foreign exchange trading saw the dollar at 109.30 yen against 109.45 yen in New York late Monday as it takes a breather ahead of the release of US data this week, with some economists predicting it will bounce back and pass 110 yen soon.