Beijing, China (BBN)-Chinese markets led Asia’s losses after a private manufacturing survey suggested factory activity continued to shrink in China.
The Caixin/Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slipped to 48.2 in December, the tenth consecutive month of contraction in the sector, reports BBC.
A reading below 50 suggests a contraction in the sector, while anything above 50 suggests growth.
The Shanghai Composite fell 4 per cent to 3,414.46 in early trade.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down by 2.1 per cent to 21,457.56.
The private PMI survey, which focuses more on small and medium-sized businesses, came after an official survey on Friday, which looked at larger companies, that suggested a fifth month of shrinking factory activity.
Analysts said there would be more stimulus measures by the government and central bank this year, even though the economy has been slow to respond to the past year’s series of easing measures.
The rest of the region started the new year on a cautious note after the holidays.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 2.1 per cent to 18,641.05 as a stronger yen also weighed on shares of major exporters.
The market is also catching up with last week’s declines in the US, after being closed for the last two sessions.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.3 per cent to 5,282.80, while South Korea’s Kospi index fell 1.1 per cent to 1,939.35.
A jump in oil prices boosted Australia’s energy sector with shares of Woodside Petroleum up 2.9 per cent.
Brent crude gained 3 per cent, rising as high as $38.40 after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shia Muslim cleric ignited regional anger.