Asian markets fall as China reports slowdown in exports

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Shares fell in Asia on Monday, extending the latest losses on Wall Street, as China reported a sharp slowdown in exports.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index














HSI, -1.38%












  lost 1.4% while the Shanghai Composite














SHCOMP, -0.71%












  fell 0.7%. The Kospi














SEU, -0.53%












  in South Korea declined 0.5% and Australia’s S&P ASX 200














XJO, -0.02%












 finished flat. Shares also fell 0.5% in Taiwan














Y9999, -0.52%












 . Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday.

Among individual stocks, oil producer CNOOC














0883, -4.68%












  and tech giant Tencent














0700, -2.84%












  fell nearly 5% and 2.8%, respectively in Hong Kong trading, chip maker SK Hynix














000660, -4.61%












  fell over 4% in South Korea and Taiwan Semiconductor














2330, -0.91%












  slipped close to 1% in Taiwan.

China said Monday that its exports to the U.S. contracted in December although its overall trade surplus with the U.S. hit a record $323 billion in 2018. Exports to the U.S. rose 11.3% to $478.4 billion for the year despite punitive tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump in a fight over Chinese technology ambitions. The customs data showed imports of American goods rose just 0.7% over 2017, reflecting the impact of Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs and encouragement to importers to buy more from non-U.S. suppliers.

U.S. stock indexes finished a hair lower on Friday after the falling price of oil weighed on energy companies. The S&P 500














SPX, -0.01%












  nevertheless closed out its third straight winning week following a brutal stretch in December, edging 0.1% lower to 2,596.26. The Dow Jones Industrial Average














DJIA, -0.02%












  dipped less than 0.1% to 23,995.95 and the Nasdaq composite














COMP, -0.21%












  lost 0.2% to 6,971.48.

“Risk has continued to veer averse today as pre-earnings jitters amid a torrent of turbulent crosscurrents have investors adopting a more defensive approach even after the Fed indicated patience on further rate hikes,” Stephen Innes of Oanda said in a commentary. “The markets were heading into today China’s trade data, expecting leading indicators of regional trade will be weak, and export orders point at a continued weakening sentiment. Which indeed proved to be the case.”

Benchmark U.S. crude oil














CLG9, -1.65%












  gave up 48 cents to $51.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 1.9% to settle at $51.59 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude














LCOH9, -1.47%












 , the international standard, lost 47 cents to $60.01 a barrel. It sank 1.9% to $60.48 a barrel in London.

The dollar














USDJPY, -0.40%












  was trading at 108.12 yen, down from 108.48 yen on Friday.

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