Stocks in Asia traded lower Monday morning amid concerns over the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Investors will also be keeping an eye on the general strike in Hong Kong today, which comes after weeks of protests in the Chinese-controlled city.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.09% in early trade, adding to its losses from last Friday where it had declined more than 2%. Shares of index heavyweight SoftBank Group dropped 2.11%. The Topix index also shed 1.26%.
South Korea’s Kospi also fell 1.21%, as shares of LG Chem dropped more than 2%.
President Donald Trump said Thursday that the U.S. is putting 10% tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting Sept. 1.
On Monday, Seoul announced plans to invest about 7.8 trillion Korean won($6.48 billion) in research and development to foster local production of materials and equipment over the next seven years, Reuters reported. That, according to the news wire, is aimed at cutting down South Korea’s reliance on Japanese imports, after Tokyo last week removed the country from its so-called “white list” of trading partners that enjoy fast-track export status.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.29% as most of the sectors traded lower.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index shed 0.32%.
Investors will watch for market reactions in Hong Kong as a general strike aimed at bringing the city to a pause is planned for Monday. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is set to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. HK/SIN, following yet another weekend of protests in the city.
In company news, HSBC announced the departure of its CEO John Flint on Monday, citing the need for a change at the top amid “a challenging global environment.” The lender said its first-half pretax profit jumped 15.9% while announcing a further buyback of $1 billion.
On the economic data front, the Caixin services Purchasing Managers’ Index in China is due at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN.
The renewed trade jitters between Washington and Beijing last week sent the S&P 500 stateside to its worst weekly drop of 2019, falling 3.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its second-worst week of the year, declining 2.6%.
Responding to Trump’s latest salvo, China’s foreign ministry said Friday that the country does not want a trade war with the U.S. but is unafraid of fighting one.
U.S.-China trade war developments have roiled global markets for more than a year, and there have been signs the rafts of additional tariffs from both sides are having real effects on economies around the world.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.039 after seeing levels above 98.7 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.31 against the dollar after strengthening from levels above 108.8 in the previous trading week. Elsewhere, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6793 after declining from highs above $0.688 last week.
The offshore Chinese yuan also touched its lowest levels since January 2017 on Monday, Reuters reported. It last traded at 6.9804 against the greenback.
Oil prices declined Monday morning during Asian trading hours, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures contract slipping 0.89% to $61.34 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also fell 0.49% to $55.39 per barrel.