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Asia factory slowdown rattles growth hopes

There were fresh worries Monday (August 2) over just how fragile a global recovery could be.

That on signs that Asian exporters have hit a rough patch.

China's factory activity growth slowed sharply in July.

The closely watched Purchasing Mangers' Index from Caixin/Markit sank to 50.3.

That was its lowest level in 15 months, and perilously close to going below the 50 point mark, which would signify contracting activity.

There were similar drops in other Asian exporters, including Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Among the negatives were signs of fresh disruption due to resurgent health worries.

Rising raw material prices were also a drag.

Oil prices sank sharply as a result.

International benchmark Brent crude was down around 1% in early European trade.

Crude is heavily exposed to any signs of a slowdown in China - the world's second-largest oil consumer.

The picture wasn't uniformly bleak on Monday, however.

PMI numbers held up better in South Korea and Japan, both hitting exactly 53.

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