By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO (Reuters) -- Asian shares edged up on Tuesday, as investors awaited Chinese factory surveys later in the session amid persistent concerns about cooling growth in the world's second-biggest economy.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3 percent in early trading, while Japan's Nikkei added 0.5 percent.
Wall Street lost ground overnight, though major U.S. indexes still gained for the second straight month.
China will release its official manufacturing PMI for November, while the private Markit/Caixin version is also due later in the morning. While neither are expected to show significant further deterioration, markets will lap up any positives given the concerns about loss of growth momentum in China.
Investor focus will also remain on the Chinese yuan after the International Monetary Fund on Monday admitted China's yuan into its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket alongside the dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen. The widely expected move was a milestone in China's integration into global finances and a nod of approval to the progress the country has made with reforms.
"What is interesting about the new weightings is that the biggest change is for the euro, which now accounts for 30.9 percent of the basket instead of 37.4 percent. While EUR/USD did not have much of a reaction to the news, it is certainly not positive for the currency," Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy for BK Asset Management, said in a note to clients.
The euro was already under pressure on expectations that the European Central Bank will unveil further easing steps at its Thursday policy meeting.
"Everyone is watching euro this week and we believe that it will test and break $1.05. While investors have completely discounted easing by the ECB, there's a great deal of uncertainty surrounding what actions the central bank will take," Lien said.
The euro was steady at $1.0564, nursing losses just above a 7 1/2-month low of $1.0557 marked on Monday.
Against the yen, the dollar edged up about 0.1 percent to 123.24.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rival currencies, was steady at 100.22, within sight of its more than 12-year high of 100.39 hit in March.
The dollar gained despite disappointing U.S. economic data. The Chicago Purchasing Management Index fell in November, indicating a contraction in the Midwest factory sector.
Investors looked past the PMI, and ahead to the key nonfarm payrolls report which will be released on Friday. Economists expect it to show that employers added 200,000 jobs in November, according to a Reuters poll. A solid report would cement expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve is on track to increase interest rates this month for the first time in nearly a decade.
By contrast, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is expected to hold rates steady at 2 percent at its policy meeting on Tuesday, with an announcement expected to come at 3:30 GMT (10:30 p.m. ET).
Ahead of the decision, the Australian dollar was steady at $0.7230 and Australian shares were up 1.3 percent.
Crude oil prices steadied after volatile trading overnight in which they first rallied and then erased gains after a survey estimated higher OPEC output.
U.S. crude edged up 0.1 percent to $41.68 a barrel.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)