Asian Pacific Stocks Decline, China internet shares fall Amidst Regulatory Fears

Shares in Asia-Pacific declined on Tuesday, with Chinese internet stocks in Hong Kong falling again as regulatory fears resurfaced.

By the Tuesday market close in Hong Kong, shares of Tencent dropped 4.14% while Alibaba plunged 4.77% and slipped 5.16%. The Hang Seng Tech index slipped 3.13% to 6,218.89.

Those losses came after China’s market regulator issued draft rules on Tuesday aimed at stopping unfair competition on the internet.

Hong Kong’s broader Hang Seng index fell 1.66% to 25,745.87.

Asian Markets
Hang Seng Index Performance Chart

Mainland Chinese stocks led losses regionally by their Tuesday close, with the Shanghai composite slipping 2% to 3,446.98 while the Shenzhen component dropped 2.335% to 14,350.65.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.36% lower at 27,424.47 while the Topix index declined 0.49% to finish the trading day at 1,915.63. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.89% to close at 3,143.09.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia slipped 0.94%, closing at 7,511.

Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s August monetary policy meeting, released Tuesday, showed the central bank acknowledged that outbreaks of the delta variant and the accompanying lockdowns “had introduced a high degree of uncertainty to the outlook for the second half of 2021.”

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.32%.

Asian Markets Currencies and Oil

The New Zealand dollar fell more than 1% to $0.6929 after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country will be moving into a nationwide lockdown following the discovery of one Covid case in Auckland.

That development came a day ahead of expectations that the New Zealand central bank could become the first advanced economy in Asia-Pacific to raise interest rates on Wednesday.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.689 — still struggling to recover from a recent drop from above 92.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.34 per dollar, stronger than levels above 109.5 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7295, following yesterday’s drop from above $0.735.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures declining 0.59% to $69.10 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.61% to $66.88 per barrel.

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