Asian stocks ended the week on a gloomy note after a survey showed Chinese manufacturing contracted at the fastest pace since the 2009. The preliminary version of the Caixin purchasing managers' index fell to an unexpectedly low 47.1 points from July's 47.8 points.
The data fuelled worries about the health of the world's second largest economy and led investors to the safety of bonds and gold. The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 4.2 per cent to 3,509.98
"Chinese markets are still struggling with selling pressure, and the guessing game that the authorities are playing with the market participants has yet to be proven as a good tactic. Therefore, it's anybody's guess whether the China Securities Finance Corp, the de-facto state margin trader, would throw its weight behind the Chinese equity market today," said Bernard Aw of IG Markets in a report.
"Should sellers find no state buying, particularly near the end of the trading session, they may be inclined to push lower."
Japan's Nikkei 225 dipped three per cent to 19,435.83 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.5 per cent to 22,409.62. Australia's S&P ASX 200 declined 1.4 per cent 5,214.60 and South Korea's Kospi shed two per cent to 1,876.07.
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