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Summer's almost gone

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FILE PHOTO: A man walks under an electronic screen showing Japan's Nikkei share price index inside a conference hall in Tokyo

(Reuters) - A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever

Asian markets kick off the new month on Thursday, glad to see the back of a turbulent August but wary of what September holds.

The driving forces last month - heavy selling in fixed income, rising global interest rate expectations, the looming energy crunch in Europe, and China's deepening economic, energy, and financial problems - will not suddenly evaporate with the date change.

Equity investors may look to start the month on the front foot and pick up some relative bargains, however, after the S&P 500 and world stocks both fell more than 4% in August.

Bond investors may think the same - two-year German yields, for example, have been crushed lately, and the increase in yield last month was the steepest in 40 years.

But Wednesday's newsflow was not encouraging, particularly from Europe. Headline inflation in the euro zone rose to a record high of 9.1%, and economists at Bank of America and Goldman Sachs now predict that the ECB will raise rates by a punchy 75 basis points in September.

According to Goldman Sachs financial conditions indexes, financial conditions in China are their tightest since May, and the tightest in the United States in over a month and close to a new post-pandemic peak.

Recession fears continue to push stocks and oil prices lower. Brent crude slumped around 12% in August, down for a third straight month.

The corporate calendar in Asia is light on Wednesday, with PMIs from Australia, South Korea and Indonesia the most relevant economic indicators for markets.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Thursday:

Australia housing loans (July)

Australia capex (Q2)

Australia PMI (Aug)

Indonesia PMI (Aug)

S Korea PMI (Aug)

S Korea GDP (Q2 revised)

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever in Orlando, Florida; Editing by Angus MacSwan)