Asian markets have kicked off 2014 cautiously. Here's why

It's been something of a disappointing start to 2014 over in Asia, as markets suffer on China's unimpressive manufacturing data and currency troubles.

The yen traded today, but Tokyo's equity market is closed until Monday.

China opened lower after state-sponsored and private surveys showed a manufacturing sector slowdown in December.

The HSBC purchasing managers' index (PMI) dropped to 50.5 in December, down from an eight-month high of 50.8 in November.

Weakness in the yen is affecting South Korean car sales and advantaging Japanese competitors.

Car makers Kia Motors and Hyundai Motor fell 4.8 per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively, as both said they're expecting their poorest sales growth in over ten years this year.

In India, the manufacturing sector is still growing, but the pace is slowing. The HSBC/Markit PMI fell to 50.7 in December, from November's 51.3. A score over 50 indicates growth.

There was a rise in output and forward-looking orders, but domestic orders slowed. Firms are, however, upping their workforces.