Asian shares pared losses on Monday as a weaker yen helped Japan's Nikkei snap a four-day losing streak, but trade was thin with many regional markets closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 percent, with Australian shares (.AXJO) slipping a few points to end nearly flat. With Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China all closed for the new year holiday, volume was thin.
Global markets have been in turmoil since the start of the year, with stocks and commodities prices reeling, eroding inflation and making central banks increasingly dovish - a trend that could continue with more weak economic data. China, a focus of much of the recent market concern, released foreign reserves data on Sunday which showed the central bank dumped dollars to defend the yuan and prevent an increase in capital outflows. The country's foreign reserves fell $99.5 billion to $3.23 trillion in January, the lowest level since May 2012, central bank data showed.