Asian stocks fall on trade worries, weak Chinese data

SINGAPORE — Asian shares were mostly lower Tuesday as the lack of new leads following a U.S. market holiday meant that trade worries and slowing Chinese manufacturing activity stayed in the spotlight.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.1 percent to 22,697.08. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped less than 0.1 percent to 27,701.03, and the Shanghai Composite index was 0.1 percent lower at 2,718.97. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent to 6,285.10, ahead of a statement by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The bank is widely expected to keep its 1.5 percent benchmark interest rate unchanged. South Korea's Kospi bucked the regional trend, adding 0.1 percent to 2,308.95. Wall Street was closed on Monday for a Labor Day holiday.

TRADE CONCERNS: On Saturday, President Donald Trump warned that Canada "will be out" of a revised North American trade agreement unless it's "fair" to the United States. Talks to keep Canada in the trade bloc are to resume Wednesday as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada's dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition. The two countries will continue to engage in trade talks, despite missing a deadline set by the Trump administration. A U.S.-Mexico deal sealed last Monday excluded Canada.

CHINESE PMI: A private survey has showed manufacturing activity in China slowing to a 14-month low. The Caixin Manufacturing PMI, which measures growth in the sector, came in at 50.6 in August, slightly lower than 50.8 in July. The index is on a 100-point scale, with 50 separating contraction from growth.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "A look back on Monday's Caixin manufacturing PMI from China saw that being a factor to weigh with Asia markets broadly receding on the above-mentioned and broad concerns over looming trade issues," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 26 cents to $70.06 a barrel on Tuesday. It had lost 0.6 percent to settle at $69.80 a barrel in New York. Brent Crude, used to price international oils, shed 8 cents to $78.07 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.12 yen from 111.08 yen. The euro fell to $1.1599 from $1.1619.

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