Asian markets mixed as investors mull G20 headlines

Asian stocks were mostly in the red on Monday as investors mulled headlines out of the G-20 finance ministers meeting in Germany at the weekend and China Development Forum over the next two days.

Finance ministers from twenty of the world’s biggest economies held a two-day meeting, and warned against competitive devaluations and disorderly FX markets but failed to agree on keeping global trade free and open.

“Germany Finance Minister Schauble bemoaned the omission for resit all forms of protectionism in the G-20 communique as U.S. Treasury Mnuchin preferred to ‘reduce excessive global imbalances…promote greater inclusiveness and fairness,'” said Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, in a Monday note.

Down Under, the ASX 200 closed down 0.36 percent or 20.7 points at 5,778.9.

Australian retailers were under pressure on Monday, due to fears of Amazon potentially launching its service in the country this year, analysts said.

Shares of JB Hi-Fi were down 2.84 percent, Harvey Norman dropped 8.21 percent, and Suparetail was down 3.36 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.5 percent.

Earlier, official data showed that South Korea’s February producer prices rose at its fastest pace in over five years, with the producer price index (PPI) up at 4.2 percent, compared to January’s 3.9 percent.

Chinese mainland shares fell by Monday afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down 0.05 percent and the Shenzhen composite 0.2 percent lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.6 percent.

Over in Beijing, international business leaders, international organisations and Chinese policymakers gather for the 18th session of the China Development Forum.

Official data on Saturday showed that China’s property prices rose in February after having slowed in the past four months. New home prices were up 0.3 percent, compared to January’s 0.2 percent increase.

Meanwhile, property sales jumped 25.1 percent in January and February, the strongest annual growth in seven years.

In Southeast Asia, oilfield services firm Ezra Holdings of Singapore filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Saturday, and said it had loans of $272 million owed to Singapore’s DBS Group, and $184 million owed to Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.

Shares of DBS Group and OCBC were down 0.94 percent and 0.62 percent, respectively.

Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times index was down 0.5 percent, weighed heavily by its oil and gas index, which fell 0.55 percent and more than one  percent earlier.

Markets in Japan are shut. On Friday, Japan’s benchmark index fell 0.35 percent to close at 19,521.59.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday in Germany that the European Union and Japan should soon reach an economic deal, and stressed the importance of free trade to his country, Reuters reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for 30 minutes on Sunday and said that U.S. President Donald Trump anticipated a meeting soon, Reuters reported.


IBM and a unit of China’s Dalian Wanda Group agreed on Sunday to team up to provide cloud services for Chinese firms through a newly formed venture, Wanda Cloud Company.

Oil prices were steady last Friday after dropping nearly ten percent for the week on concerns of a continued global supply overhang.

During Asian time, Brent crude was down 0.35 percent at $51.58 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell 0.59 percent to $48.50.

The dollar weakened further to 100.14 against a basket of currencies at 1:25 pm HK/SIN, at a nearly one-month low.

The yen strengthened to 112.5, falling below the 113 handle, against the greenback. The Australian dollar was stronger at $0.7727 as of 1:25 pm HK/SIN.

U.S. stocks closed mixed Friday, dragged down by declines in financial and health care stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.1 percent to 20,914.62, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.13 percent to 2,378.25.The Nasdaq composite closed flat at 5,901.00.

Source: CNBC

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