Asian markets down on trade uncertainty

12 November, 2019 12:00 AM printer

HONG KONG: Asian markets turned lower on Monday as another record close on Wall Street was overshadowed by uncertainty on the China-US trade talks, while Hong Kong was also hit by fresh protests in which at least one person was shot.

Expectations Beijing and Washington will agree a mini-pact have fuelled an equity rally for the past few weeks, reports AFP.

Hopes had been given an added boost Thursday after China said the two sides had agreed to roll back some tariffs as the negotiations progress.

But the US side sent out some confusing signals after that announcement, before US President Donald Trump denied such an agreement, leaving investors scratching their heads.

Still, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro provided a lift to sentiment, saying Trump could postpone tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled to take effect in December. The S&P 500 and Dow both ended at fresh all-time highs.

“President Trump’s speech on Tuesday at the New York Economic Club offers the perfect soapbox for (him) to make a big political splash on both the US-China trade talks and section 232 auto investigation against the EU,” said AxiTrader’s Stephen Innes.

“The president has never been known to shy away from the spotlight, so keep eyes trained on this significant event.”

Asian investors were unable to extend the winning streak.

Tokyo ended 0.3 percent lower and Singapore shed more than one percent with Seoul, Mumbai, Taipei, Jakarta and Manila also sharply lower. Sydney and Wellington edged up.

Shanghai dropped 1.8 percent, with traders keeping tabs on China’s annual “Singles’ Day” shopping frenzy — the world’s biggest 24-hour shopping event — which acts as a gauge of the country’s consumer spending.

Total gross merchandise volume settled through Alibaba’s payments platform Alipay hit 192 billion yuan ($27.4 billion) in the first 12 hours, the e-commerce titan said.

This put it on course to break last year’s record of $30.7 billion. The firm said the first $1 billion was spent in just 68 seconds.

Hong Kong sank 2.6 percent as the city was gripped by another wave of protests that have jammed up the transport network and led to the closure of several businesses.