* Dollar/yen hits 7-month high as Tokyo shares gain
* Spreadbetters expect Europe to open effectively flat
* U.S. ISM manufacturing eyed for more dollar cues
* Palladium hovers near 13-1/2 yr high on Ukraine crisis
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, Sept 2 Asian shares slipped on Tuesday as a U.S. holiday
robbed markets of momentum, while the euro hit a fresh one-year low on
uncertainty over the European Central Bank's policy decision later this week.
Spreadbetters expected an effectively flat open for Europe, with Britain's
FTSE, Germany's DAX and France's CAX forecast to open
about 0.1 percent higher.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
lost 0.6 percent after managing to carve out gains on the previous day.
With U.S. markets closed for Labor Day, investors in Asia were somewhat
subdued. The mood was also tempered by persistent geopolitical concerns and
anaemic manufacturing surveys in Asia and Europe showing pockets of weakness in
the global economy.
Tokyo's Nikkei bucked the trend and rose 1.2 percent, with a planned
cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe helping fuel reform hopes.
The dollar, boosted by the flagging euro and gains in Tokyo shares that
dented the appeal of the safe-haven yen, rose to a seven-month high of 104.87
"The dollar's gains are driven by actual flows, such as options-related
buying. The market is also keeping an eye on the rise in equities," said
Shinichiro Kadota, chief Japan FX strategist at Barclays Bank in Tokyo.
Immediate focus was on the ISM's report on U.S. manufacturing due later in
the day, which might point to the U.S. phasing out quantitative easing just as
the ECB contemplates its adoption.
The euro slipped to a fresh one-year low of $1.3115.
The common currency was expected to remain under pressure ahead of
Thursday's European Central Bank policy meeting.
While many market participants do not expect the ECB to take major easing
steps this week, a few are seen braced for new policy measures. Further central
bank easing is considered a matter of when and not if in the face of risks to
euro zone growth posed by the Ukraine conflict and stubbornly low inflation.
"This week may start to mark the biggest shift in global monetary policy
since 'Abenomics' went into full steam on the appointment of Haruhiko Kuroda to
head up the BOJ," equity strategists at Jefferies wrote in a note to clients.
The decline in European headline inflation rates, collapse in German bund
yields, and the call by the president of the ECB for 'growth friendly' fiscal
policy suggests that Europe is finally moving towards quantitative easing, they
The Australian dollar showed little reaction to the well-anticipated
decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia to keep its cash rate at a record low
2.5 percent for the 12th consecutive meeting.
The Aussie was down 0.4 percent at $0.9296 after brushing a
one-week low of $0.9285.
In commodities, Brent crude held steady below $103 a barrel on Tuesday, with
new unrest in OPEC oil producer Libya balanced by concerns of slowing oil demand
growth due to weak economic recoveries in China and Europe.
Palladium hovered near a 13-1/2 year high of $910 an ounce hit overnight on
fears that possible Western sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis
could hit supply from the world's top producer of the metal, while gold nudged
Spot palladium last traded at $904.50 an ounce. Russia accounted for
more than 40 percent of global palladium supply last year.
(Editing by Eric Meijer & Shri Navaratnam)