Asian stocks fell broadly on Monday amid lingering worries over a possible recession and uncertainty over China’s economic reopening as the country battles a wave of Covid infections.
China’s top leaders pledged to stimulate domestic consumption and the real estate market, helping limit regional losses to some extent.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.9 percent to 3,107.12, as a surge in new virus cases hit urban centers from north to south. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped half a percent to 19,352.81.
A survey showed Chinese business confidence fell to its lowest level in nearly a decade, highlighting deepening cracks in the country’s economy.
Japanese shares suffered heavy losses as the yen strengthened on speculation that the Bank of Japan could tighten its ultra-loose monetary policy amid rising inflationary pressures.
The Nikkei average fell 1.1 percent to 27,237.64 ahead of the BoJ monetary policy statement due Tuesday. No change in monetary policy is expected, but traders will parse the statement carefully for any changes in the language. The broader Topix closed 0.8 percent lower at 1,935.41.
Seoul stocks extended losses for a third day running amid worries that further policy tightening by the Fed could result in a global recession next year. The Kospi average dropped 0.3 percent to 2,352.17.
Australian markets fell for a third straight session as financials and utilities dragged, offsetting gains in the mining sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,133.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.2 percent lower at 7,321.
Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index fell 0.7 percent to 11,518.14 following hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.
The services sector in New Zealand expanded at a slower pace in November, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed earlier today.
A separate survey showed consumer confidence in the country fell sharply in the fourth quarter to the lowest level since the figures were first compiled in 1988.
U.S. stocks fell for a third straight session on Friday and suffered a second straight week of losses on concerns that the Fed’s hawkish stance on rate hikes could tip the U.S. economy into a recession.
The Dow slid 0.9 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1 percent and the S&P 500 gave up 1.1 percent.
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