Most of the Asian markets fell Wednesday amid increasing concerns over the slowdown in economic growth in China as the country's manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace in July compared to that in the previous month.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.07 percent or 93.43 points to 8601.63. Among major losers were Komatsu Ltd (7.79 percent), Olympus Corp (6.76 percent) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (5.72 percent).
The Chinese Shanghai Composite gained 0.92 percent or 19.28 points to 2122.91. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was marginally down 0.09 percent or 18.66 points to 19778.15. Among major losers were CNOOC Ltd (1.91 percent) and China Mobile Ltd (1.10 percent).
South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index was down 0.23 percent or 4.42 points to 1877.57. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd dropped 1.38 percent and those of Hyundai Motor Co fell 0.42 percent.
India's BSE Sensex marginally fell 0.01 percent or 1.99 points to 17234.19. Major losers were IDBI Bank Ltd (2.10 percent), Apollo Tyres (1.22 percent) and Syndicate Bank (1.01 percent).
Market sentiment was negative as data released Wednesday by the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing showed that the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 50.10 in July down from 50.2 in June. The softening of manufacturing activities in July is a reflection of the deteriorating export situation in China, which calls for more aggressive policy easing.
Meanwhile, the debt crisis lingering over the euro zone continued to drag down the investor confidence with the heightening of borrowing costs in Spain and Italy. Market focus will obviously be on the European Central Bank monetary policy decision Thursday. Investors sensed the urgency for the ECB to announce monetary easing measures to strengthen the global economy. Market players felt that bold measures, including easing in the monetary policy, would give a much-needed thrust to boost liquidity in the European financial system.
Investors are also waiting for the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) statement on the monetary policy Wednesday. The debt crisis faced by the euro zone and the faltering U.S. economy are expected to push the Fed to take quantitative easing measures to regain the economic growth momentum.