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Asia business sentiment drops sharply in Q3

SINGAPORE, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Business sentiment among Asia's top companies deteriorated in the third quarter, led by businesses in export engines such as China and South Korea, derailing three consecutive quarters of improving sentiment, the latest Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment survey showed.

The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index fell to 66 in the third quarter from 71 in the second quarter when it reached the highest level in more than a year. An index reading above 50 indicates an overall positive outlook.

Some of the weakest readings came from north Asia's export-orientated economies of China, South Korea and Taiwan, and regional trading hub Singapore, all of which turned in readings of 50 - highlighting the impact of a stuttering global economy.

The poll conducted by Thomson Reuters News in association with INSEAD, a global business and management school, surveyed more than 100 executives in 11 Asia-Pacific countries across sectors including autos, financials, resources, food and retail.