Asian Shares Fall as China Manufacturing Data Slides for Second Month

Stocks across Asia and the Pacific fell on Wednesday as investors fretted over whether Congress would approve a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling amid mounting opposition within the Republican party.

A number of Asian economic statistics, including China’s May manufacturing activity numbers, will be released on Wednesday. The country’s manufacturing PMI dropped to 48.8 for the second month in a row, a more severe decline than March’s 49.2.

In early trading on Monday, the Nikkei 225 in Japan fell from a 33-year high to a loss of 1.03%, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia shed 1.33% as the country’s weighted inflation rate increased to 6.8% from 6.4%, exceeding the expectations of economists polled by Reuters.

The Kospi index in South Korea dropped by 0.10%.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong lost 2.18%. The mainland Chinese stock market index, the Shanghai Composite, also fell by 0.62%.

Overnight in the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.15 points and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.32 points. The S&P 500, meanwhile, managed a tiny gain after going up and down over the session.

Later today, the House Rules Committee will decide whether to have a full vote on the debt ceiling bill. Two far-right Republican panelists oppose it. House support on Wednesday is needed to get Senate approval before the Monday deadline, where GOP opposition exists.

Fed Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said he needs to see evidence of a slowdown in demand before he believes that inflation in the US would begin to decline.

The latest economic data showed that US consumer confidence had slipped to a six-month low as negative sentiment about the labor market and business prospects weighed on debt ceiling predictions.