Asia report: Hong Kong equities lead losses across region

by | Aug 14, 2023

(Sharecast News) – Asia-Pacific markets grappled with losses on Monday, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index at the forefront of the downturn.
A decline in basic materials and consumer cyclical stocks played a significant role in dragging the index down, while the Chinese real estate sector fared poorly too, with sell-offs led by Country Garden Holdings.

“Asian equity markets encountered downward pressure driven by ongoing economic concerns in China and apprehensions over developer defaults,” said TickMill Group market analyst Patrick Munnelly.

“This backdrop of risk aversion loomed over the region, especially with significant upcoming events such as key global data releases and the imminent release of the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes.”

Equity declines seen across region, led by Hong Kong

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slid by 1.27%, ending the trading session at 32,059.91, while the broader Topix index settled 0.98% lower at 2,280.89.

Among the prominent decliners on Tokyo’s benchmark, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding plummeted by 8.32%.

Credit Saison and Pacific Metals also witnessed significant losses, falling by 6.06% and 5.03% respectively.

In China, the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.34% to 3,178.43, and the Shenzhen Component edged down by 0.5% to 10,755.14.

Cashway Tech and Baotou Huazi Industry registered sharp declines in Shanghai, dropping 9.05% and 7.48% respectively.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong faced the day’s most significant losses, down by 1.589% to 18,773.55.

Country Garden Holdings took a massive hit, plummeting by 18.37%, while its counterpart Country Garden Services also declined by 9.65%.

Additionally, BYD Co’s shares decreased by 6.13%.

South Korea’s Kospi index went down by 0.79% to 2,570.87, with Hanwha Ocean and SKC dropping by 7.11% and 5.98% respectively.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.86% to settle at 7,277.00, with the most impacted stocks including Pilbara Minerals and Allkem, falling by 6.03% and 3.92% respectively.

New Zealand’s market remained relatively resilient compared to its counterparts, with the S&P/NZX 50 losing only 0.09% to 11,826.42.

Investore Property and Oceania Healthcare were among the top decliners, registering losses of 5.59% and 3.8% respectively.

In currency trading, the dollar was last 0.08% weaker against the yen at JPY 114.85, while it gained 0.06% on the Aussie to trade at AUD 1.5403.

Against the Kiwi, the greenback dipped 0.03% to change hands at NZD 1.6706.

Oil prices also faced a minor setback, with Brent crude futures last down 0.37% on ICE at $86.49 per barrel, while the NYMEX quote for West Texas Intermediate dropped 0.32% to $82.92.

India’s wholesale inflation rate declines modestly in July

It was a relatively quiet day for economic news in the region, but in an unexpected development, India’s wholesale inflation rate saw a minor decrease in July, recording a dip of 1.36%.

That contraction was less than the 2.7% fall projected by economists surveyed by Reuters.

The commerce ministry put the decline down to a restrained price surge in areas such as mineral oils, basic metals, chemicals, textiles, and food products.

July’s numbers contrasted with June, which saw a significant 4.12% drop in inflation.

It marked the first time the inflationary trend had reversed course since May last year, suggesting a stabilisation in the country’s economic conditions.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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