Asia report: Markets lower as China prepares for WTO meeting over US
Markets in Asia were mostly lower at their respective closes on Wednesday, after reports overnight that China was set to ask the World Trade Organisation to place sanctions on the United States.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.27% at 22,604.61, as the yen strengthened 0.31% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 111.28.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was 0.33% lower at 2,656.11, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite was 0.41% in the red at 1,403.60.
South Korea’s Kospi was almost flat, losing just 0.01% to 2,282.92, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was off 0.29% at 26,345.04.
Sentiment in the region took a hit, after reports emerged late on Tuesday that the People’s Republic was set to ask the WTO for permission to impose sanctions on the United States.
That meeting was scheduled for 21 September, and came a few days after the Trump administration in Washington confirmed plans for another round of punitive sanctions on China, on more than $200bn of goods.
Oil prices were higher, with Brent crude last up 0.67% at $79.59 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate ahead 1.48% at $70.29.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 ended the day 0.06% lower at 6,175.90, with the hefty financials subindex falling 0.39%.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 was down 0.3% at 9,195.57, led lower by energy generator and retailer Mercury, which lost 2.7% as its stock gave up rights to a final dividend.
The down under dollars were mixed, with the Aussie last 0.03% stronger on the greenback at AUD 1.4038, as the Kiwi weakened 0.03% to NZD 1.5327.