Data on China's manufacturing sector showed a mixed picture on Tuesday.
The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), released by the National Bureau of Statistics, came in at 50.3, a touch higher than the 50.2 reading in February, and staying above the 50 mark which demarcates expansion and contraction.
However, the final HSBC PMI reading for March came in at an eight-month low of 48, compared with the flash estimate of 48.1 out last week.
"On average, I think it's still clear that the economy hasn't really pulled out of its rut for the year," Frederic Neumann, managing director and co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC told CNBC.
"You had this expectation that after Chinese New Year, the economy will roar back. But so far, it's challenging and perhaps the bottom of growth might be only in the second-quarter, not the first-quarter," he said.
The Australian dollar, which is especially sensitive to China's data given Australia's huge trade links to the mainland, rose earlier on the official data, but eased slightly following the HSBC figures.