Asian shares have started August lower as disappointing economic data from China weighed on investors’ confidence.
Data over the weekend showed that growth at China’s big manufacturers unexpectedly stalled in July as demand fell both at home and abroad.
The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) stood at 50 in July, down from 50.2 in June. The 50-point mark separates growth from contraction.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.8% to 20,426.1 in early trade.
Investors are also awaiting Caixin/Markit’s private PMI survey results due out later on Monday.
Chinese shares opened lower with the Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,611.48, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was also 1.4% lower at 24,286.2.
US based hedge fun Citadel confirmed that trading in one of the accounts it manages in Shenzhen has been restricted by China’s securities regulator.
The regulator has restricted trading in 34 stock accounts for suspected trading irregularities, including abnormal bids for shares and bid cancellations that might have affected the recent slump in the market.
US data weighs
Poor US wage growth data from Friday also darkened the mood as labour costs in the second quarter recorded their smallest increase in 33 years.
In Australia, the ASX/200 was down 0.4% at 5,677.7 points.
The index posted its first monthly rise since February last month.
South Korean shares were lower despite data showing that the current account surplus in June hit a record high as exports surged, while imports fell.
The seasonally adjusted current account surplus rose to a preliminary $10.8bn from a revised $6.4bn in May.
Exports were up 8.8% from a month ago, while imports fell 3%.
The Kospi index was down 1% to 2,010.39 points.