Chinese President Xi Jinping has reiterated that foreign firms are welcome in China and that Bejing would not manipulate its currency to boost exports, in a speech given in Seattle to mark the beginning of his state visit.

He conceded that Beijing does engage in hacking, but confirmed that China would co-operate with Washington on the issue. Relations have been strained between the countries on both of these issues. Mr Xi will meet Barack Obama at the White House on Friday.

In Asia, markets fell after further the release of further disappointing economic data. The preliminary Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index showed that China’s manufacturing sector is shrinking at the fastest pace for six-and-a-half years.

The preliminary Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 47 in September, below forecasts of 47.5 and down from 47.3 in August.

The Shanghai Composite dropped 2.2% to 3,115.89 on the news, with the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closing down 2.3% at 21,302.91.

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