Asian markets retreated Wednesday, following sharp losses on Wall Street as investors worry the trade war between the U.S. and China could escalate.
U.S. stock futures indicated another weak session for those markets on Wednesday, after in a week that has seen losses of 2% across major U.S. indices. Investors got confirmation Tuesday that the Trump administration will increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from 10% on Friday. Still, China’s Vice Premier Liu He will lead a delegation for ongoing trade talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday, and there remains a possibility that a deal could yet be worked out.
“Over the past 24 hours, there has been a significant sentiment shift as some investors hedge into safe-haven assets while some are falling by the wayside while the balance is opting for the sidelines,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, wrote in a note Tuesday. “But one thing that is for sure, Equity investors are getting more uncomfortable by the hour.”
Markets across Asia had largely recovered Tuesday, following a sharp selloff Monday, but slid back again Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.55% closed down 1.5%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.75% dropped 1.2%.
Losses picked up for the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.10% , which closed down 1.1%, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.36% slipped 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.92% also fell 0.4%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -2.17% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.06% declined. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +1.75% slipped 0.4%.
New Zealand’s /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR +1.06% main stock index bucked the weaker trend, rising 0.4% after the country’s central bank the official cash rate by 25 percentage points to 1.5%, the lowest on record. It was the first rate cut by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand since 2016, and weighed on the country’s currency /zigman2/quotes/210561726/realtime/sampled NZDUSD -0.0984% .
Among individual stocks, Toyota /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +1.22% fell in Tokyo trading, as did SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 -0.26% and Fanuc /zigman2/quotes/202054799/delayed JP:6954 +0.92% . In Hong Kong, Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 -0.15% rose but Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -1.24% , CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -0.35% and Wharf Real Estate /zigman2/quotes/205885756/delayed HK:1997 -3.50% fell. Hyundai Heavy Industries /zigman2/quotes/206598861/delayed KR:009540 +5.13% declined in South Korea, and Foxconn /zigman2/quotes/204111604/delayed TW:2354 -0.75% slipped in Taiwan. Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT +2.22% slid in Australia.