Asian markets fell on Thursday afternoon following a report that an anticipated phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China may not be inked by the end of 2019.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses among major Asian indexes as it fell 1.61 percent by the afternoon, with shares of life insurer AIA falling 1.74 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.73 percent in afternoon trade, with shares of Tokyo Electron falling more than 3 percent. The Topix index was 0.5 percent lower. In South Korea, the Kospi shed 1.32 percent as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix fell by more than 2 percent each.
Mainland Chinese stocks declined also declined by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down 0.39 percent and the Shenzhen component shedding 0.47 percent. The Shenzhen composite also slipped 0.357 percent.
Meanwhile, Australian stocks declined as the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.8 percent. Shares of Westpac dropped about 2 percent, after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on the lender’s board to reflect very deeply over the future of the firm’s CEO.
That decline follows a more than 3 percent drop on Wednesday after Australia’s anti money-laundering and terrorism financing regulator filed for civil penalty orders against the firm, alleging its “oversight of the banking and designated services provided through its corresponding banking relationships was deficient.”.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 1.12 percent lower.