Brexit chaos rumbles on, economic data in focus

Market focus is largely attuned to economic data, after U.S. figures overnight showed improvements in manufacturing activity last month and construction spending in February.

The upbeat readings overshadowed disappointing retail sales figures and reinforced positive sentiment from China. The world’s second-largest economy reported a surprising return to growth in its manufacturing sector on Monday.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, edged up around 0.2 percent.

Back in Europe, British lawmakers came no nearer to resolving the chaos surrounding the country’s departure from the European Union. On Monday evening, British Parliament failed to secure a majority for any proposed alternative to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

If nothing is passed in the House of Commons over the coming days, the world’s fifth-largest economy is set to leave the bloc without a deal on April 12.

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