Asian shares down on weak China manufacturing data

<p>China’s manufacturing tumbled to a 15-month low in July.</p>

Asian markets ended the week on a weak note after new data showed that the Chinese manufacturing sector is struggling.

The preliminary China Caixin purchasing managers index (PMI), a manufacturing index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers, surprised markets by dropping to a 15-month low in July.

Sentiment was also hampered after several American companies issued cautious outlooks while posting earnings for Q2, citing the strength of the dollar and a slowing economy in China.

Investors were also concerned by losses on commodity markets due to an over supply glut, along with a strong dollar and the likelihood of an imminent interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.

"With the US dollar likely to keep rising as the Fed prepares to raise rates, there's still some sort of weakness to come in the commodity space," said Angus Gluskie, managing director at White Funds Management Pty in Sydney, quoted by Bloomberg.

"The earnings outlook in the U.S. is also somewhat subdued as a result of the strong US dollar. We're not likely to see a massive rally in the next few months."

Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.7 per cent to 20,532.20 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down one per cent to 25,152.62. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.9 per cent to 2,046.44, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.4 per cent to 5,566.20. China's Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.3 per cent to 4070.83.

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