Asian shares mostly slip as US debt talks drag on

Asian shares mostly slip as US debt talks drag on

HONG KONG - Asian markets slipped Monday, with traders growing nervous that talks to raise the US borrowing limit remain deadlocked just days before the deadline to avoid a default.

Republicans and Democrats were unable to find a compromise after a rare Sunday session to hammer out a budget deal to reopen the government, which has been partially shut down for two weeks.

Adding to selling pressure was a disappointing batch of Chinese trade figures at the weekend that indicated a recent pick-up in the world's number two economy may not be as strong as hoped.

Sydney fell 0.44 per cent, or 23.0 points, to 5,207.9, Seoul eased 0.23 per cent, or 4.63 points, to 2,020.27 and Singapore dropped fell 0.45 per cent, or 14.46 points, to 3,165.25.

However, Shanghai added 0.43 per cent, or 9.62 points, to 2,237.77 despite the weak data at the weekend, with investors buying consumer-related shares owing to a bigger jump in inflation than expected.

Tokyo, Hong Kong and Jakarta were closed for public holidays.

With the US expected to run out of cash to pay its bills on Thursday, focus is on Washington, where President Barack Obama has urged Republicans to agree to a debt ceiling hike.

Failure to raise the spending limit would mean a default that could have a devastating effect around the world.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would meet with his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, their second talks in as many days.

"Americans want Congress to compromise. Americans want Congress to give the economy certainty and security, not more indecision and doubt," he said.

After the talks he added: "I'm optimistic about the prospect for a positive conclusion."

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