GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares, Aussie dlr buoyed by China data, yen retreats
* Copper prices rise but gold and oil fall
* Asia shares and Australian dollar up, yen falls against dollar, euro
* Dollar holds at 4-week high against basket of currencies
* Nikkei advances 0.8 pct
TOKYO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Asian shares, the Australian dollar and copper prices rose on Monday while the yen fell as hopes grew that China may have halted a sharp economic slowdown after factory activity data expanded at the fastest pace in more than a year in August.
A delay to U.S. military action against Syria, as U.S. President Barack Obama seeks Congressional support, also helped boost short-term risk appetite.
Steven Englander, Citi's global head of G10 FX strategy, recommended investors short the yen on the back of the Chinese figures, the Syrian news and a panel supporting Japanese sales tax increase.
China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to the highest level since last April and topped market expectations. A separate manufacturing PMI report from HSBC is due at 0200 GMT.
"This will reinforce views of China stabilisation. It is a risk positive, if only because it removes some of the short-term risk that the China slowdown could spiral further downwards," Englander said.
Stock markets in the region got off to a positive start as the China PMI, and the recent data from the U.S. and Europe, raised hopes the global economy was on a firmer footing.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.3 percent after rising 2.1 percent in the previous two sessions. Japan's benchmark Nikkei gained 0.8 percent.
The yen had risen recently on heightened geopolitical tensions and as investors dumped emerging market currencies as they positioned for the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin reducing stimulus, perhaps as early as later this month.
On Monday, the yen slipped 0.4 percent to 98.455 yen to the dollar, pulling well away from last week's low of 96.81, and eased 0.3 percent to 130.00 to the euro.
The Australian dollar, which is seen as a proxy for Chinese growth because of the two countries' close trade ties, rose 0.3 percent to $0.8936.
Against a basket of major currencies, the U.S. dollar held steady at a four-week high.
Trading activity was likely to be light with the U.S. markets closed for the Labor Day holiday.
Buoyed by the factory activity data from top consumer China, copper prices rose 0.6 percent and were on track to snap a four-day losing run.
But oil and gold prices fell as investors unwound their positions as the U.S. delayed military strike against the Syrian government, blamed for using chemical weapons against civilian.
Brent crude prices dropped 1.8 percent to around $112.3 a barrel after falling for a second day in a row on Friday, while gold shed 1.1 percent to around $1,308 an ounce.