Asian equity markets largely fell on Tuesday, with Shanghai being an exception, over a persisting slump in oil prices and after latest data added to concerns about slowing activity in the world's second-largest economy.
The flash HSBC/Markit China manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) slipped to 49.5 from a final reading of 50 in November, contracting for the first time in seven months. The 50-point level separates growth from contraction.
Overnight, U.S. stocks finished lower, topping off a wild ride that had the Dow Jones Industrial Average trading in a more than 300-point range on either side of neutral as crude prices came under renewed selling pressure.
U.S. crude futures were trading on Tuesday below $56 a barrel and near a 5-year low hit in the prior session, dropping for a fifth session after the UAE oil minister said there was no need for an emergency OPEC meeting to support prices. London Brent crude for January delivery was untraded yet, after settling down 79 cents at $61.06.
Underscoring the gloom, Russia's central bank sharply raised its key interest rate to halt a collapse in the rouble as the oil-dependent economy slides towards a recession on the back of plunging oil prices and Western sanctions.