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Asia Economy Last Updated: Feb 4, 2014 - 2:25 PM

Emerging markets and US data trigger share selling
By Finfacts Team
Feb 4, 2014 - 7:20 AM

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China's markets remain closed for the lunar New Year holidays but markets across Asia in common with emerging markets elsewhere, are continuing on a downward slope that began last Thursday when a monthly survey showed that Chinese manufacturing had contracted in January. Meanwhile, US manufacturing data for January also put the frighteners on US investors.

Asian stock markets dropped sharply Tuesday and in Tokyo the Nikkei Stock Average fell 610.66 points, or 4.2%, to end at 14008.47, leaving it 14% lower in the year to date.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 2.6% mid-afternoon in Tokyo, the most since June and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell about 1.4%.

Brazil on Monday reported a record monthly trade deficit of $4.1bn despite an 18% drop in the value of the real against the US dollar over the past year.

US factory output grew in January at the weakest pace in eight months as orders slumped, with the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index dropping to 51.3 in January from 56.5 the prior month.

"We have been bombarded with negative headlines and data points, and it just adds to the gloom," said Paul Mackel, head of Asian currency research at HSBC in Hong Kong, according to The Wall Street Journal. "There is no obvious light at the end of the tunnel."

The key monthly US jobs report for January is due on Friday.

The Federal Reserve’s latest quarterly survey of senior loan officers shows that consumer lending growth remained unchanged  in January and growing competition to make business loans means this area is likely becoming less profitable for banks.

The Dow closed down 326.05 points Monday, losing 2.1% to 15,372.80. The S&P 500 index slid 2.3% to 1,741.89, while the Nasdaq composite index slipped 2.6% to 3,996.96.

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