Asian Shares Decline On China Concerns

asianmarket 021219 29dec22 lt

Asian stocks fell on Thursday amid concerns about the rapid spread of Covid infections in China and fears about the potential for new variants to emerge.

Several countries including the United States, Japan, Italy Taiwan and India have imposed new restrictions mandating Covid-19 tests for passengers arriving from China.

Investors also assessed the likelihood of a U.S. recession in 2023 due to the Federal Reserve's aggressive policy tightening to tame inflation.

China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.44 percent to 3,073.70 as infections continued to spread in most parts of the country, greatly disrupting the normal work schedule.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 percent to 19,741.14 on worries about the impact of the current Covid surge in China on global supply chains and inflation.

Japanese shares tumbled, dragged down by technology stocks. The Nikkei 225 Index hit its lowest levels in nearly three months before ending 0.9 percent lower at 26,093.67.

The broader Topix ended down 0.7 percent at 1,895.27. Heavyweight SoftBank hit its lowest level since October 19 before ending 1.6 percent lower.

Seoul stocks slumped to reach two-month lows as initial optimism over China reopening faded. The Kospi tumbled 1.9 percent to 2,236.40 after the release of mixed industrial production and retail sales data. Large-cap stocks such as SK Hynix, Hyundai Motor and Samsung Electronics lost 1-2 percent.

Australian markets ended at seven-week lows, dragged down by financials and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.9 percent to 7,020.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index settled 0.9 percent lower at 7,197.30.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said today the country would not make any changes to its rules around allowing travelers from China into the country, despite some countries making mandatory Covid tests a requirement.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand's benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index finished marginally lower at 11,538.45.

U.S. stocks fell sharply overnight, with recession fears and growing concerns around Covid re-emergence weighing on markets heading into 2023.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1.4 percent to hit a 2022 closing, low while the S&P 500 shed 1.2 percent and the Dow declined 1.1 percent.

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