Sun, Oct 07, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Asian stocks fall as Pence claims Chinese meddling

AP, SINGAPORE

Asian markets mostly declined on Friday after US Vice President Mike Pence claimed that China had meddled with the upcoming US midterm elections to unsettle the administration of US President Donald Trump, which Beijing has denied.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.7 percent to 159.65, down 3.4 percent for the week.

In Taipei, the TAIEX on Friday closed down 201.79 points, or 1.88 percent, at 10,517.12.

It was the worst performer in Asia this week, as a stronger US dollar led to heavy fund outflows, First Securities Investment Trust Co (第一金投信) said.

The index fell 4.44 percent on the week, worse than the 4.09 percent decline on Indonesia’s main board, company data showed.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 on Friday fell 0.8 percent to 23,783.72 and the KOSPI in South Korea dropped 0.3 percent to 2,267.51 points.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1 percent to 26,596.21 points.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 6,185.50 points.

Stocks fell in Singapore and Indonesia.

Markets in China were closed for a national holiday.

China took public and covert measures to interfere in the next month’s elections, Pence said.

These include targeting Chinese tariffs to industries in states that are crucial to Trump, intimidating academics and coercing US businesses to speak out against the Trump administration, he said.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) said Pence’s allegations were “groundless.”

Shares in Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) and ZTE Corp (中興通訊) tumbled in Hong Kong after Bloomberg reported that China had inserted tiny chips into servers and computer equipment manufactured for the US to steal its technology secrets, citing corporate and government sources.

Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc dismissed the report.

Lenovo said Super Micro Computer Inc was not a supplier “in any capacity.”

However, its shares fell as much as 20 percent on Friday, recouping some of that to end down 16 percent. ZTE was off 11 percent.

“Risk sentiments remain fragile, especially with overnight news about China’s tiny chip hack and US Vice President Mike Pence’s tough words on China’s alleged interference in US politics, which could point to a further escalation of the ongoing US-China trade war,” Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp chief economist Selena Ling said.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg and CNA

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