Asia Markets

Asia markets broadly lower as US-China trade tensions rise again

Key Points
  • Asia markets were largely lower on Monday as U.S.-China trade tensions weighed on investor sentiment.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump still wanted to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods despite attempts by Washington to restart trade negotiations with Beijing, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
  • This was followed by a series of reports by the Wall Street Journal over the weekend which said the new tariffs could come at 10 percent instead of 25 percent, and that Beijing could decline to participate in the trade talks if Washington pushed ahead with the new tariffs.

Asian markets were broadly negative on Monday, amid reports over the weekend that the U.S. could be imposing new tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods as early as this week.

In South Korea, the Kospi recovered slightly from its earlier losses but still ended the trading day lower by 0.66 percent at 2,303.01, with industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics sliding 1.53 percent.

The Greater China markets also saw losses, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropping 1.4 percent as of 3:07 p.m. HK/SIN. Over on the mainland, the closed 1.11 percent lower at 2,651.79 while the Shenzhen composite fell 1.535 percent to close at 1,380.98.

Down Under, the ASX 200 bucked the overall trend to close higher by 0.32 percent, as the financial sector gained by 0.62 percent. National Australia Bank's shares gained 0.77 percent following an earlier announcement regarding the departure of a top executive at its consumer banking division.

Australian health care stocks plunge

Stocks in the health care sector Down Under dove on Monday morning, on the back of an announcement by the Australian government that a commission into the aged care sector had been established.

The overall health care sector on the ASX 200 saw a decline of 0.89 percent for the day, with some companies in the health care space seeing steep falls. Regis Healthcare's stock plunged by 17.13 percent while shares of Estia Health dropped by 18.64 percent, with Japara Healthcare following the overall trend by closing 17.01 lower.

On Sunday, the Australian Prime Minister's office announced that a commission has been set up to examine the quality of aged care provided in the "Residential and Home" settings.

Hong Kong partially recovers from Typhoon Mangkhut

Some gaming stocks in Hong Kong bounced back in the afternoon, after casinos in Macau were forced to shut on Saturday with the arrival of Typhoon Mangkhut.

As of 3:25 p.m. HK/SIN, Galaxy Entertainment Group's stock still traded lower by 1.71 percent, while SJM Holdings declined by 0.56 percent. Wynn Macau, Sands China and Melco International Development, on the other hand, saw a reversal from their earlier losses. Wynn was up by 0.42 percent, while Sands saw gains of 1.14 percent and Melco rose by 0.37 percent.

The casinos returned to operations on Monday though challenges remained in restoring power to those affected by outages over the weekend.

US-China trade war remains in focus

In U.S. market action last Friday, the saw a slight gain to close at 2,904.98, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 8.68 points at 26,154.67 and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.1 percent to 8,010.04.

The gains on Wall Street were largely kept in check following a report by Bloomberg that U.S. President Donald Trump still wanted to impose tariffs on $200 billion on Chinese goods despite attempts by Washington to reopen trade talks with Beijing.

On Sunday, a source told CNBC that that the new round of tariffs on Chinese goods was being readied ahead of the scheduled trade talks with Beijing, in line with an earlier report by the Wall Street Journal on Saturday that said the White House was set to impose the tariffs at 10 percent instead of the earlier number of 25 percent.

The Journal then followed up with another report on Sunday citing Chinese officials saying that Beijing could decline to participate in the proposed trade talks with the U.S. if Washington goes ahead with imposing the additional tariffs on Chinese imports.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 94.937 as of 3:02 p.m. HK/SIN, largely holding firm to its gains from last Friday.

"(The U.S. dollar) will take guidance this week from any trade discussion and bond and equity market movements," said Richard Grace, chief currency strategist and head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The remained slightly stronger again against the dollar at 111.98 while the held on to its slight gain at $0.7155, as of 3:04 p.m. HK/SIN.

"This week, AUD/USD will take some guidance from the minutes of the (Reserve Bank of Australia's) September policy meeting on Tuesday. We don't expect much of a currency market reaction," said Grace.

— Reuters contributed to this report.