By Richard Rittorno
China (NYSEARCA:FXI) reported disappointing HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI of 47.7 compared to estimates of 48.6. The previous reading was 48.2. China is the second-largest economy, and the headlines about these numbers pushed the Asian markets broadly lower early in the Asian session.
Official data out of Japan (NYSEARCA:EWJ) added pressure to the NIKKEI, with data indicating that Japan's trade balance has now fallen short for 12 consecutive months. Japan's exports did increase by 7.4%, a definite improvement, but exports fell short of analysts' expectations of 10.3%. Japan's exports into China increased by 4.8%, while exports to the U.S. increased by 14.6%. It's important to note exports to the U.S. fell short of May's exports of 16.3%. The NIKKEI closed lower by 0.32%, to 14731.28, on the economic data.
Hong Kong's (NYSEARCA:EWH) HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index dropped to 47.7 for the month of July, pushing the index to an 11-month low. Remember that the HSBC number precedes the official government report by a week. A level of 50 is the line in the sand that determines growth or contraction. Hong Kong continues to struggle with unemployment, with its latest reading of the employment index at 47.3 the lowest level since March 2009.