(Reuters) -- Asian shares crawled higher Tuesday after sharp losses the day before, but gains were limited as investors, worried about a global economic deceleration, waited for Chinese trade data due later in the day that could set the tone for risk appetite.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> nudged up 0.2 percent, after slumping 1.6 percent on Monday for its biggest daily loss in about a month.
Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> opened up 0.3 percent, after posting its largest one-day decline in over a month on Monday. <.T>
Hong Kong and Shanghai shares suffered their steepest drops in five weeks on Monday, as more benign than expected inflation data raised fears of weakening consumer demand in China.
After the June trade data, China will release its second-quarter gross domestic product report on Friday, which is expected to be the worst in at least three years.
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If import growth comes in below a forecast 12.7 percent versus a year ago, it could stoke concerns about a hard landing in the world's second-largest economy, with Beijing's monetary and fiscal policy since late last year likely to be seen as failing to underpin fragile growth.
Import growth will be important and a reading above the 8-10 percent region would be supportive of commodity currencies, BNP Paribas analysts wrote in a client note.
The euro, having hit a two-year low of $1.2225 in early Monday Asian trade, was up 0.1 percent at $1.2320.
Europe's three-year debt crisis has dragged down economic activity around the world, ushering in the current deterioration in global growth and undermining investor appetite for risk.
Ministers at a meeting on Monday were set to grant Spain more time to meet its deficit targets, but remained far from pinning down details of bank rescues and emergency bond-buying that are of imminent concern to markets.
A surprise bare-bones agreement reached in late June to allow euro zone rescue funds to buy sovereign bonds issued by struggling states and to establish a European banking supervisor was aimed at breaking the link between banks and sovereigns.
But disappointment over a lack of swift follow-up action has pushed Spanish 10-year yields back above the 7 percent level, seen as unsustainable, and put upward pressure on yields in Italy and France.
Markets have now repriced the linkage between the Spanish sovereign and its banks, leading to jitters, said Sebastian Galy, strategist at Societe Generale, adding that the euro still has potential to fall further against the dollar regardless of short covering risk.
A wider gathering of European Union finance chiefs on Tuesday is set to ease a deficit reduction goal that has forced Madrid to make punishing budget cuts that are exacerbating a recession.
Oil retreated from Monday's rally, with U.S. crude falling 1 percent to $85.12 a barrel.
Brent slipped below $100 a barrel on Tuesday, dropping 1.2 percent to $99.12 after Norway's government on Monday ordered a last-minute settlement in a dispute between striking oil workers and employers to alleviate market fears over a full closure of its oil industry and a steep cut in Europe's supplies.
(Additional reporting by Ian Chua in Sydney; Editing by Edmund Klamann)