Asian shares fall as China manufacturing data disappoints

Slower Chinese factory growth

Shares in Asia fell on Tuesday as readings on China’s manufacturing activity failed to meet expectations, underscoring weakness in the world’s second-largest economy despite Beijing’s attempts to spur growth.

Both official and private business surveys pointed to slower Chinese factory growth this month, dashing hopes for a steady reading or even a faster expansion. Data also showed a slower expansion in its services sector, adding to economic uncertainty.

The dollar-denominated MSCI index of Chinese shares dropped 0.8 percent. But Chinese blue chips in Shanghai and Shenzhen kept losses in check, losing less than 0.1 percent as investors maintained hopes for further measures to prop up the economy.

The weak manufacturing numbers suggest “stimulus is there to stay,” said Frances Cheung, head of macro strategy for Asia at Westpac. Upbeat data for March had prompted some analysts to scale back expectations of additional support measures.

http://www.reuters.com

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