Asian stocks decline on China woes

<p>The final July reading for Caixin China purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 47.8.</p>

Asian stocks started the weak on a subdued note, amid falling energy prices and the release of weak Chinese manufacturing data today (August 3rd).

The final July reading for Caixin China purchasing managers' index (PMI), a manufacturing index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers, came in at 47.8, lower than the preliminary reading of 48.2.

The reading also follows comments over the weekend by central bank official Sheng Songcheng about his darkening economic outlook for the second half of the year, the Securities Times reports.

“Investors are anticipating further policy support, given sluggish economic outlook in the second half this year,” Li Lei, an analyst at China Minzu Securities, told the Wall Street Journal. He said he expects stronger stabilisation measures from Beijing if the Shanghai market slides below 3500 this week.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.1 per cent to 3622.99 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.9 per cent to 24411.42. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 edged down 0.2 per cent to 20,539.48 and Seoul's Kospi lost one per cent to 2,009.73. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.4 per cent down to 5,674.90.

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