The manufacturing sector was in doldrums in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, while the French business activity also shrank in September, a survey on Monday showed, as global trade issues caught up to the euro bloc and stoked fears of a recession.

"The world's economic growth momentum has stuttered amid heightened global trade tensions ... Any sudden spike in geopolitical or trade tensions, along with a rapid deterioration in the global economy's projected path forward, is expected to return safe-haven assets to 2019 highs," Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM said in a note.

The concerns over developments in the U.S.-China trade dispute also lingered in the background, with investors staying on the sidelines after a Chinese agriculture delegation cancelled their visit to Montana.

Leading declines, Indonesian shares <.JSKE> were poised for a fourth session of losses as they shed 1.3% to hit a seven-week low.

Financials and consumer stocks dominated the losses with Bank Central Asia Tbk PT falling 0.8% and cigarette maker Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk PT slumping 2.6%.

An index of Jakarta's forty-five most liquid stocks <.JKLQ45> was 1.6% lower.

The Malaysian bourse <.KSLE> was set to extend declines to a second session, with resource and consumer sectors leading losses, while Philippine shares <.PSI> flitted between positive and negative territory.

Bucking the sombre mood, Singapore stocks <.STI> ticked up on the back of financial stocks amid hopes of monetary easing. The city-state's core inflation gauge in August remained at a three-year low, data showed on Monday, prompting analysts at OCBC to reaffirm rate-cut expectations by the country's central bank at its October meeting.

Heavyweight DBS Group Holdings Ltd was among the top gainers in the index as it tacked on 0.6%.

Thai shares were trading mostly flat after government data implied that the country's manufacturing output had slumped more than expected in August.

Thailand's manufacturing sector, one of its main drivers of growth, reported a 4.4% decline in activity for August, as it continues to be strained by the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

By Anushka Trivedi