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Stocks & Shares

Asia shares drop amid jitters over Chinese markets


Investors were selling stocks of technology and property companies

Shares dropped Tuesday in Asia, with Hong Kong’s benchmark down nearly 2%, as jitters over Chinese markets dimmed confidence across the region.

U.S. markets were shut on Monday, leaving investors without clued from overnight trading. Early Tuesday, the future for the S&P 500 was down 0.4%, and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.3% lower.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index dropped, snapping a New Year’s winning streak that took it to its highest level in 34 years. It dropped 0.7% to 35,645.18.

The dollar weakened against the Japanese yen even as a former central bank official said that the BoJ is preparing to end its longstanding negative interest rate policy. The dollar bought 146.18 yen, up from 145.75 late Monday and its highest level in more than one month.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 1.9% to 15,904.27 and the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.6% to 2,868.30.

Investors were selling stocks of technology and property firms. Online food delivery firm Meituan declined 3.2% and games company Tencent shed 2.7%. Financially troubled property developer China Garden Holding shed 5.6% and Sino-Ocean Group Holding slumped 8.1%.

China is due to provide an update in its economy on Wednesday that economists predict will show annual growth at 5.3% in Q4, up from 4.9% in July-September.

Most forecasts suggest growth will slow in the world’s second biggest economy this year, as Beijing continues to struggle with a crisis in its property sector and weak consumer demand. IMF head Kristalina Georgieva warned Monday in an interview with CNBC that unless China enacts reforms to help drive more spending, it might face a significant drop in growth rates going below 4%.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi slid 0.7% to 2,508.40 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia dropped 1.2% to 7,410.10.

European markets had a weak start to the week.

Germany’s DAX shed 0.5% to 16,622.22 as the government reported that the economy declined by 0.3% in 2023 from a year earlier. The CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.7% to 7,411.68. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4% to 7,594.91.

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