Asian stocks fell for a second day on Friday, following a retreat in global equities, as commodity producers dropped with oil amid lingering concerns about moderating global growth before central bank policy decisions.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1 percent to 130.27 as of 4:05pm in Hong Kong, heading for its biggest decline since May 13 and paring a 0.4 percent advance this week. Optimism that borrowing costs will remain lower for longer amid modest global economic growth is waning as investors grew cautious ahead of a string events in the next two weeks. The looming US Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan meetings next week, followed by the vote on Britain’s membership in the EU, have the potential to roil markets.
Global equities have rebounded from the lows seen in February as commodities have rallied. Oil has surged more than 90 percent amid unexpected disruptions and a slide in US output, which is under pressure from OPEC’s policy of pumping without limits.
Markets in China and Taiwan remained shut for the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.
The TAIEX closed at 8,715.48 on Wednesday, up from 8,591.57 on Saturday last week.
Japan’s TOPIX slid 0.5 percent, after a 1 percent decline on Thursday. The measure dropped 0.5 percent this week.
South Korea’s KOSPI dropped 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.9 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index finished little changed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 1.2 percent as it resumed trading following Thursday’s holiday. Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 1 percent.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index slid 0.4 percent after tumbling 2.4 percent at the last minute of trading on Thursday.
The country on Friday reported that exports contracted for a 13th straight month in April, mirroring declines in other Asian markets such as Indonesia and South Korea.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies traded in Hong Kong sank 2.2 percent, ending its longest streak of gains since 2007. The gauge rose 5.9 percent during the nine-day rally, making it the world’s best-performing equity benchmark over the period after gauges in Ukraine and Argentina.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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