Asian stock markets experienced a downturn in their recent sessions, with several key indices closing in the red. Investor sentiment was influenced by various factors, including stronger-than-expected economic data from the United States and concerns about inflation, as well as weak trade data from China, Australia’s major trading partner.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index concluded the session at 18,202.07 points, marking a decline of 247.91 points or -1.34%. The catalyst for this negative performance was the release of a stronger-than-anticipated service sector index in the United States. This outcome sparked concerns that the U.S. may still grapple with inflationary pressures, potentially leading the Federal Reserve (Fed) to maintain higher interest rates for an extended period.
Meanwhile, the South Korean Composite (KOSPI) extended its negative streak for the third consecutive day, closing at 2,548.26 points. This represented a decrease of 15.08 points or -0.59%. Investors in South Korea were apprehensive about the potential for the Federal Reserve to expedite interest rate hikes following robust economic data.
In China, the Shanghai Composite index finished at 3,122.35 points, down 35.72 points or -1.13%. This downturn followed the release of disappointing trade data from China, amplifying concerns about the nation’s economic prospects.
Australia’s stock market was not immune to the negative sentiment. The S&P/ASX 200 closed at 7,174.00, marking a decline of 83.10 points or -1.15%, while the All Ordinaries ended at 7,374.90, down 86.70 points or -1.16%. The weakness in Australian equities was driven by the revelation of lackluster trade data involving China, a crucial trading partner for Australia.
Finally, Tokyo’s Nikkei index concluded the session at 32,991.08 points, registering a decrease of 249.94 points or -0.75%. Investors opted to book profits after a robust eight-day rally that propelled the market to a one-month high.
The prevailing volatility in Asian markets underscores the significance of monitoring global economic developments and their implications for investor sentiment. The delicate balance between inflation concerns and economic data is expected to continue influencing market dynamics in the region in the coming days.