Asian markets fell in early trading Wednesday, following new doubts about a U.S.-China trade deal and ahead of an expected interest-rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
While U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump, in recent days had touted progress in trade talks, Reuters reported Tuesday that a “phase one” deal might not be ready to be signed at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile next month. “Our goal is to sign it in Chile. But sometimes texts aren’t ready,” a U.S. official told Reuters.
Separately, China accused the U.S. of “bullying” over a proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment in U.S. networks, and China’s ambassador to the United Nations suggested that U.S. criticism over human rights could impact trade talks.
Meanwhile, investors are awaiting the conclusion of the Fed’s two-day meeting, with many expecting the third rate cut of the year but uncertain if the central bank will signal further monetary easing in the future.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.36% fell 0.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.30% slipped 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.44% edged down 0.4 while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.95% slid 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -0.56% declined 0.4%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.15% , Singapore STI, +0.31% , Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.08% and Indonesia JAKIDX, +0.12% mostly rose slightly. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.72% fell 0.5%.
Among individual stocks, electronics company NEC 6701, -5.94% slid in Tokyo trading, along with SoftBank 9984, -1.66% and Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing 9983, -1.24% . In Hong Kong, Apple component maker AAC 2018, -1.54% fell, along with PetroChina 857, -1.71% . Chip maker SK Hynix 000660, -1.20% retreated in South Korea while BHP BHP, -0.94% and Rio Tinto RIO, -0.93% fell in Australia.