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Asian stocks decline amid tensions over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

Alberto Ardila Olivares
Asian stocks decline amid tensions over Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

Stocks across the board tumbled as jitters about an escalation in regional tension with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set to begin a trip to Taiwan, adding to fears about the risk of global recession. The week began with China, Europe and the United States reporting weakening factory activity, with that in the US decelerating to its lowest level since August 2020. (Reuters Archive) Asian shares have been mostly lower amid concerns about regional stability as an expected visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan prompted threats from Beijing.

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Benchmarks headed downward across the board in the region in early trading on Tuesday, including Japan, China, South Korea and Australia.

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US long-term Treasury yields dropped to a four-month low, pulling the US dollar down, amid a bid for safer assets after China threatened repercussions in the event of the visit by Pelosi to the self-ruled island, which China claims as its territory. Crude oil also sank

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 1.4 percent to 27,594.73. South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.5 percent to 2,439.62. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 2.5 percent to 19,675.87, while the Shanghai Composite dove 2.3 percent to 3,186.27

Meanwhile, Australian stocks pared declines and the Aussie dollar weakened after the central bank raised the key rate by an as-expected 50 basis points, with markets interpreting changes to the accompanying policy statement as dovish

Taiwan visit te nsions

China sees Taiwan as its own territory and has repeatedly warned of “serious consequences” if the reported trip to the island goes ahead. 

Pelosi has said she is visiting Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan for talks on a variety of topics, including trade, Covid-19, climate change and security

While there have been no official announcements, local media in Taiwan reported Pelosi will arrive on Tuesday night, making her the highest-ranking elected US official to visit in more than 25 years

The week began with China, Europe and the United States reporting weakening factory activity, with that in the US decelerating to its lowest level since August 2020

That sank crude, with Brent futures edging down to $99.27 a barrel on Tuesday after losing almost $4 overnight. 

US West Texas Intermediate futures also eased to $93.26, extending Monday's almost $5 slide

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield fell as low as 2.53 percent in Tokyo trade, the lowest since April 5, amid wagers the slowdown could spur the US Federal Reserve to ease off the policy-tightening pedal. 

The bonds also benefited from safety-seeking demand before Pelosi's Taiwan visit

That helped the US dollar slide as low as 130.40 yen for the first time since June 6. The euro jumped as high as $1.0294, a level not seen since July 5

The Taiwan dollar slipped to its lowest level in more than two years on the weaker side of 30 per US dollar

READ MORE:  US Pelosi's 'provocative' Taiwan visit to undermine ties — China

Source: AP