SINGAPORE – Bonds slipped, the dollar edged higher and Asia's stockmarkets made a shaky start to the second half on Friday, as investors grow increasingly nervous about the global economic outlook.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat, with trade thinned by a holiday in Hong Kong.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.7 percent. Treasuries fell, lifting yields a little bit along the curve, and US equity futures dropped about 0.2 percent.

The S&P 500 closed out its worst first-half since 1970 overnight and the Treasury market has taken such a beating in the past six months that Deutsche Bank estimates the performance is the poorest in more than two centuries. 

Inflation and central banks' response to it is responsible. Focus is now on any clues about whether it has peaked. Eurozone consumer price data is due later on Friday and July figures in the United States will be a blockbuster for financial markets.

German inflation unexpectedly slowed last month, as did the pace of US consumer spending in May, according to data released on Thursday – prompting some pullback in rate-hike bets but at the same time increasing worries about economic weakness.

"Many investors want a clear outlook," said Steven Wieting, chief investment strategist at Citi Global Wealth Investments, but the future does not present a steady, reliable recovery.

"(2020) was a clear period where the economy was depressed that we could put money to work here with a lot of confidence. We can't say that now," he said.

Growth worries punched oil lower and Brent crude futures were last at $109.76 a barrel.

The uncertainty has kept a bid behind the US dollar, even as markets have pulled back on aggressive interest-rate forecasts and have lately even priced Federal Reserve rate cuts as soon as mid-2023.

The dollar had its best quarter since 2016 for the three months to the end of June and the euro and yen were losers. The greenback was firm on Friday and heading for a weekly gain, with the dollar index up 0.7 percent on the week to 104.830.