Asia Markets

Asian Markets Edge Lower, Hang Seng Index Declines 4% Leading Losses in the Region

Asian markets dropped sharply by the close on Monday, wiping out the Hang Seng index’s gains for 2021 once again as Chinese tech and education stocks plunged under regulatory pressure. Meanwhile, a summit between China and the United States got off to an acrimonious start, weighing on investor sentiment.
The broader Asia-Pacific markets were largely lower, with mainland Chinese stocks also falling.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 4.13% to close at 26,192.32, leading to losses in the region.
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Hang Seng Index Performance Chart

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent slipped 7.72% on Monday while Alibaba also dropped 6.38% and Meituan fell 13.76%. The Hang Seng Tech index plunged 6.57% on the day to 6,790.96.

Those losses came after China’s antitrust regulator ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive music licensing rights and slapped a fine on it for anti-competitive behaviour, marking yet another development in Beijing’s ongoing crackdown on its domestic internet titans.

Shares of private education firms listed in Hong Kong also tumbled as Chinese authorities also stepped up restrictions on the sector. New Oriental Education & Technology Group, Koolearn Technology and China Beststudy Education Group all saw their shares plummeting more than 30% each.

Mainland Chinese stocks also saw sizable declines on Monday, with the Shanghai Composite down 2.34% to 3,467.44 while the Shenzhen component fell 2.646% to 14,630.85.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing may have weighed on investor sentiment, as a high-level meeting between the two economic powerhouses got off to an acrimonious start.

China’s vice foreign minister said during Monday talks with the U.S. deputy secretary of state that the two countries’ relationship is “now in a stalemate and faces serious difficulties,” according to an English-language press release from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In other markets, South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.91% lower at 3,224.95. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 ended the trading day flat at 7,394.30.

Returning to trade following holidays on Thursday and Friday, Japanese stocks bucked the overall trend regionally. The Nikkei 225 jumped 1.04% on the day to 27,833.29 while the Topix index advanced 1.11% to close at 1,925.62.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 2.15%.

Singapore’s manufacturing output declined 3% in June on a seasonally adjusted, month-on-month basis, according to official data released Monday.

Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.864 following a recent bounce from below 92.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.18 per dollar, weaker than levels below 110 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7335, above levels below $0.732 seen last week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.67% to $72.86 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 1.89% to $70.71 per barrel.

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