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Asian Markets Are Weak amid Increased Trade War Concerns


Mar. 16 2018, Published 8:03 a.m. ET

Economic calendar

8:00 AM EST – Bank of England’s quarterly bulletin

8:30 AM EST – US housing starts (February)

8:30 AM EST – US building permits (February)

8:30 AM EST –  US industrial production (February)

10:00 AM EST – US JOLTs job openings (January)

10:00 AM EST – US Michigan consumer expectations (March)

1:00 PM EST – US Baker Hughes’s oil rig count

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After rebounding last week, China’s Shanghai Composite Index started this week on a stronger note but lost strength and declined as the week progressed. The Shanghai Composite Index opened lower on March 16 and declined to ten-day low price levels.

Market sentiment

The market sentiment in China’s markets is weak this week due to global and domestic factors. On Thursday, the Shanghai Composite Index declined as regulators warned about market risk and bubbles. Following US markets’ decline overnight and increased concerns about a US-led trade war, the Shanghai Composite Index opened lower on Friday. Concerns about President Trump’s comments on seeking to cut the US deficit with China by $100 billion added weakness to the market. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.63% and closed the day at 3,270.39 on March 16. The SPDR S&P China (GXC) gained 1.1% on March 15.

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Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index started this week on a mixed note and consolidated throughout the day. After a strong rebound on Thursday, the Hang Seng Index opened lower on Friday and ended the day with a loss. Increased concerns about US political uncertainty and the possibility of a global trade war weighed on the Hang Seng Index. Weakness in the financial sector also weighed on the Hang Seng Index on Thursday. On March 16, the Hang Seng Index fell 0.12% and closed the day at 31,501.97. The iShares MSCI Hong Kong (EWH) gained 0.19% on Thursday.


Japan’s Nikkei Index started this week on a stronger note but lost upward momentum as the week progressed. Unlike other major Asian market indices, the Nikkei Index opened higher on Friday, lost strength, and closed the day with a loss. Apart from weak global market sentiment, weakness in the banking and shipbuilding sectors also weighed on Japan’s markets.

On March 16, the Nikkei Index fell 0.55% and closed the day at 21,684.50. The iShares MSCI Japan (EWJ) gained 0.2% on Thursday.

Next, we’ll discuss how European markets performed in the early hours on March 16.


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