Paris - European shares inched lower in early trade on Monday, as soft Chinese manufacturing data and tensions in Ukraine weighed on sentiment.

Volumes were expected to be thin as the UK market was closed for a public holiday.

At 0705 GMT, the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.5 percent, at 3,163.29 points.

The final reading of China's HSBC/Markit purchasing managers index (PMI) for April came in at 48.1, lower than a preliminary reading of 48.3 but up slightly from an eight-month low of 48.0 in March. Output and new orders contracted in April, and new export orders slipped back into contraction after a recovery the previous month, the survey found.

Tensions in Ukraine were also at the forefront of investors' minds, after pro-Russian militants stormed a Ukrainian police station in Odessa on Sunday and freed nearly 70 fellow activists.

Shares in Spain's Repsol fell 0.8 percent after El Confidencial reported that Mexican state oil firm Pemex has hired Credit Agricole to sell its stake of just over 9 percent in the oil major.