Global Markets: Asian shares retreat after China PMI, US payrolls eyed
China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) eased to 50.4 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, missing market expectations for a rise and underscoring the fragility of the recovery from the economy's weakest year since 1999.
But a separate private survey showed that growth in China's giant manufacturing sector hit a two-year high in January as domestic demand strengthened, underlining hopes the nation's economic recovery is slowly gaining momentum.
"It seems new orders for exports have declined even when new orders overall rose, suggesting that infrastructure spending and other investment to spur domestic demand is needed to keep (China's) economy growing," said Naohiro Niimura, a partner at research and consulting firm Market Risk Advisory.
"But it's not going to change the view about the Chinese economy recovering. The official data was just neither good nor bad."
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 percent from the morning's 0.2 percent gain.
Australian shares were up 0.6 percent, little changed from before the data came out, drawing support from major mining stocks which gained on a jump in iron ore prices.
But the resources-linked Australian dollar fell 0.2 percent to session lows around $1.040.
With Chinese data news done for the day, investors turned to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, which is forecast to show a rise of 160,000 jobs and the unemployment rate
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