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Asian Markets Fall on May 23, Trade War Concerns Resurface

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May. 23 2018, Updated 9:22 a.m. ET

Economic calendar

  • 9:45 AM EST: US manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) (May)
  • 9:45 AM EST: US Markit composite PMI
  • 9:45 AM EST: US services PMI (May)
  • 10:00 AM EST: US new home sales (April)
  • 10:30 AM EST: US crude oil inventories
  • 2:00 PM EST: US FOMC meeting minutes
  • 2:15 PM EST: FOMC member Kashkari speaks
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China

China’s Shanghai Composite Index started this week on a stronger note and traded at eight-week high price levels in the first two trading days of the week. However, the Shanghai Composite Index opened lower on Wednesday and declined as the day progressed.

Market sentiment

China’s market maintained its strength in the first two trading days this week as the US-China trade war was put on hold. The market sentiment weakened on May 23 when President Trump commented that he wasn’t pleased with the trade talks last week. There are renewed concerns about the US-China trade war, which dented the sentiment in Asian markets on Wednesday. The market was led by coal miners. The miners lost strength after China’s state planner ordered miners to decrease the prices and stop the stockpiling thermal coal this week to control rising coal prices.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed May 23 at 3,169.24—a drop of 1.4%. The SPDR S&P China (GXC) declined 0.35% on Tuesday.

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Hong Kong

Following a pullback last week, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index started this week on a mixed note. Hong Kong’s markets were closed on Tuesday for “The Birthday of the Buddha” holiday. The Hang Seng Index opened lower on May 23 and declined to two-week low price levels. Weakness in the Asian markets following President Trump’s comments and a slump in coal miners on Wednesday weighed on the Hang Seng Index. On May 23, the Hang Seng Index declined 1.7% and closed the day at 30,707.00. The iShares MSCI Hong Kong (EWH) declined 0.08% on Tuesday.

Japan

After a brief pullback on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei Index opened lower and declined on Wednesday. Increased caution in Asian markets and Japan’s weak economic data weighed on the Nikkei Index on Wednesday. According to Nomura, Japan’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index declined to 52.5 in May, which was the lowest reading in nine months. The yen surged amid the increased market risk, which also weighed on the Nikkei Index.

On May 23, the Nikkei Index declined 1.2% and closed the day at 22,695.00. The iShares MSCI Japan (EWJ) declined 0.23% on Tuesday.

Next, we’ll discuss how European markets performed in the morning session on May 23.

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