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Asia stocks tread water as China PMI in focus; sterling falters

Asian stocks were steady in a cautious start on Wednesday after a weak session on Wall Street, while the sterling stumbled as a new poll found British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party risks falling short of an overall majority in next month's national election.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat. Early trade in Australia and Japan was mixed.

China's stock markets are in focus as they reopen after a long weekend with the official survey on manufacturing likely to set the tone for markets there and possibly the rest of the region. The PMI survey, due at 0100 GMT, is expected to show factory activity in China expanded at its slowest pace in eight months in May, according to a Reuters poll.

In commodities, oil prices remained soft, as concerns lingered about whether the extension of output cuts by OPEC and other producing countries will be enough to support prices.

U.S. crude futures slipped about 0.1 percent to $49.61 a barrel. Global benchmark Brent was flat at $51.84 per barrel.Gold edged lower to $1,262 an ounce.

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