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Asian Stocks Extends Decline as Chinese Tech Regulatory Concerns Sends Pressure on Markets

Shares in Asia-Pacific mostly declined on Thursday, as Chinese tech stocks in Hong Kong came under pressure after regulatory fears resurfaced.

In Thursday afternoon trade in Hong Kong, shares of Tencent dropped 3.74% while Alibaba declined 4.13% and Meituan plunged 6.43%. The Hang Seng Tech index declined 3.71% to 7,321.98.

Beijing recently announced a stepping up in oversight on Chinese listings in the U.S., many of whom are tech companies. That came after a recent crackdown on ride-hailing giant Didi and other tech firms, which once again raised concerns over the regulatory outlook.

The broader Hang Seng index in Hong Kong led losses among the region’s major markets as it slipped 2.89% on Thursday to 27,153.13.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.88% lower at 28,118.03 while the Topix index declined 0.9% to finish the trading day at 1,920.32. The Kospi in South Korea dropped 0.99% to close at 3,252.68.

Mainland Chinese shares also closed lower, with the Shanghai composite falling 0.79% to 3,525.50 while the Shenzhen component declined 0.382% to 14,882.90.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.2% to close at 7,341.40. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.6%.

Investors also likely continued to monitor the Covid situation regionally. The Japanese government is set to declare another Covid-19 state of emergency in Tokyo until Aug. 22, according to local news agency Kyodo News.

Meanwhile, South Korea reported the highest daily Covid-19 cases since the pandemic hit the country, according to news agency Yonhap. Australia’s New South Wales state also announced Wednesday a week-long extension of Sydney’s lockdown.

Globally, the death toll from Covid-19 crossed 4 million late Wednesday as world infections topped 185 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Asian Markets Currencies and Oil

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 1.61% to $72.25 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dropped 1.77% to $70.92 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.589 following a rise earlier this week from below 92.1.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.85 per dollar, having strengthened earlier this week from above 111 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7433 as it struggled to recover after slipping from above $0.756 earlier in the week.

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