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Asian Markets Are Weak amid US Protectionism Fears

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Updated

Economic calendar

6:00 AM EST – Eurozone industrial production (January)

7:20 AM EST – OPEC’s monthly report

8:30 AM EST – US core retail sales (February)

8:30 AM EST – US core producer price index (February)

10:00 AM EST – US business inventories (January)

10:30 AM EST – US crude oil inventories

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China

After a strong rebound last week, China’s Shanghai Composite Index started this week on a stronger note but lost strength as the week progressed. The Shanghai Composite Index opened lower on Wednesday amid weak global market sentiment and closed lower.

Market sentiment

Concerns about the government reshuffle weakened China’s market sentiment on Tuesday. Despite the release of strong economic data, the market sentiment was weak on Wednesday due to concerns about US protectionism fears. President Trump blocking the Broadcom-Qualcomm takeover deal amid tensions about the US-led trade war sparked US protectionism fears and increased market caution. In China’s markets, the tech sector led the market decline on Wednesday. Speculations about the chances of the US imposing import tariffs on China also weighed on the market.

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On the economic data front, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, China’s fixed asset investment and industrial production recorded 7.9% and 7.2% growth, respectively, in February. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.57% and closed the day at 3,291.38 on March 14. The SPDR S&P China (GXC) declined 1.7% on March 13.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index consolidated at five-week high price levels in the first two trading days of this week. On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index opened the day lower amid concerns about the US-led trade war. The global risk appetite declined after President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The Hang Seng Index’s recovery in the last hour of trading limited the daily losses on Wednesday. On March 14, the Hang Seng Index fell 0.41% and closed the day at 31,471.50. The iShares MSCI Hong Kong (EWH) declined 0.91% on Tuesday.

Japan

After surging to two-week high price levels on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei Index opened lower on Wednesday and ended the day in losses. The weak global market sentiment along with weakness in the food, transportation equipment, and marine transport sectors weighed on the Nikkei Index. On March 14, the Nikkei Index declined 0.87% and closed the day at 21,777.29. The iShares MSCI Japan (EWJ) declined 0.16% on Tuesday.

Next, we’ll discuss how European markets performed in the early hours on March 14.

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