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Asian Equities Depreciate as Trade Tensions Worry Investors

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks fell on Wednesday to extend recent losses as investors continued to fret about trade tensions and the turbulence in emerging markets, with South Africa slipping into a recession for the first time since 2009.

A cautious undertone prevailed after a threat by the United States to impose tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports as soon as a public-comment period ends on Thursday.

China?s Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 46.24 points or 1.7 percent to 2,704.34, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged 729.49 points or 2.6 percent to 27,243.85.

Activity in China?s service sector continued to expand in August, albeit at a slower rate, the latest survey from Caixin revealed with a 10-month low PMI score of 51.5.That missed expectations for 52.6 and was down sharply from 52.8 in July.

The business sector in Hong Kong continued to contract in August, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed with a PMI score of 48.5. That?s up from 48.2 in July.

Japanese shares fell as trade worries persisted and tourism-linked shares succumbed to selling pressure after a powerful typhoon slammed into western Japan, cutting power, overturning cars and killing at least eight people.

The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 116.07 points or 0.5 percent to 22,580.83, extending losses for a fourth straight session. The broader Topix Index closed 0.8 percent lower at 1,704.96.

Airline ANA Holdings dropped 1.8 percent, cosmetic maker Shiseido lost 4.2 percent and Fancl Corp plunged 9.7 percent. Line Corp, a subsidiary of the South Korean internet search giant Naver Corporation, plummeted 5 percent on fund raising reports.

Meanwhile, market heavyweight Fast Retailing climbed 3.2 percent after unveiling strong monthly sales figures.

On the economic front, the service sector in Japan expanded at a faster in August, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed with a PMI score of 51.5, up from 51.3 in July.

Australian stocks tumbled despite second quarter GDP data coming in above expectations. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slumped 62.70 points or 1 percent to 6,230.40, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 59.70 points or 0.9 percent at 6,339.20.

Australia’s GDP grew a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent in the second quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. That beat forecasts for a gain of 0.7 percent following the 1.0 percent increase in the three months prior. On a yearly basis, GDP was up 3.4 percent, the fastest pace in six years.

Separately, another survey showed that the service sector in Australia continued to expand in August, albeit at a slower pace. The corresponding index stood at 52.2 in the month, down from 53.6 in July.

Miners BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto and South32 slumped 2-3 percent after commodity prices fell sharply overnight on concerns that renewed trade tensions between the U.S. and its partners may hamper global economic growth.

Lender Westpac Banking Corp dropped 1.3 percent after settling a record A$35 million ($25 million) fine for wrongly approving thousands of mortgages. The other three banks ended down between 0.7 percent and 0.9 percent.

Energy stocks also closed broadly lower, with Origin Energy and Oil Search losing 1.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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