Sun, Feb 10, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Asian stocks slide most in a month on trade worries

Bloomberg and Reuters

Asian stocks tumbled on Friday on the worry that the US and China will not reach a trade deal before another round of tariff hikes are set to kick in.

Japanese shares led declines and Hong Kong stocks slumped as trading resumed after a three-day holiday.

Taiwanese and Chinese equity markets remained shut for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Shares sank following news that US President Donald Trump is unlikely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) before the March 1 deadline for more tariffs.

With Hong Kong traders back at their desks on Friday and Chinese traders set to return tomorrow, volumes were ramping up again just as global growth concerns are rising.

The European Commission on Thursday made sweeping downward revisions to most of the region’s major economies and the Bank of England said it expected the British economy to grow at its slowest pace in a decade.

India’s central bank on Thursday cut interest rates.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Friday lowered its growth and inflation forecasts, following the central bank governor’s declaration of a shift to a neutral policy stance earlier in the week.

“Many of the central banks are reacting to the fact that the global economic situation has worsened,” Komal Sri-Kumar, founder and president at Sri-Kumar Global Strategies Inc, told Bloomberg TV from Los Angeles.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index fell 1 percent, the most since Jan. 4, to 154.88, down 0.9 percent for the week.

Japan’s TOPIX lost 1.9 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent.

Hong Kong stocks ended weaker as the absence of any positive signs for a resolution in the trade row dented sentiment, but the market pared losses as investors eyed support from A-shares, which are to resume trading tomorrow.

At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 0.2 percent at 27,946.32 points, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.7 percent.

Energy shares shed 1.4 percent as oil markets slipped on concerns over a global economic slowdown.

However, the IT sector ended 0.2 percent firmer, the financial sector closed up 0.1 percent and the property sector ended 0.3 percent higher.

Hong Kong shares rebounded mid-session, having lost more than 1 percent in early trade, because “the market believes A-shares will open higher on Monday” as investors expect Beijing to continue its support for economic growth, said Steven Leung (梁偉源), a Hong Kong-based director of sales at UOB Kay Hian Holdings Ltd (大華繼顯控股).

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