Asian markets pull back on unease over China’s economy, turmoil in Afghanistan
BEIJING — Asian stock markets declined Tuesday amid concern about turmoil in Afghanistan and unease about China’s economic outlook after weak July activity.
Investors looked ahead to a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell for an update on the health of the biggest global economy. Traders also were waiting for U.S. sales and factory data.
The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -1.36% lost 0.5% while the Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.18% in Tokyo gained 0.1%. The Hang Seng HSI, -1.54% in Hong Kong shed 0.7%.
The Kospi 180721, -0.83% in Seoul sank 0.8% while Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.87% declined 1%. Benchmark indexes in Singapore STI, -0.61% and Taiwan Y9999, -1.17% declined.
Traders got “some positive sentiment” from Wall Street but also were “paying close attention to the situation in Afghanistan,” said Anderson Alves of ActivTrades in a report.
Landlocked Afghanistan’s economy is tiny, but other governments were caught off guard by the speed of the collapse of its government. Thousands of people tried to flee the country after the Taliban seized the capital, Kabul.
Markets also were digesting news that Chinese factory output, consumer spending and investment grew slower in July than expected. The government blamed flooding in central China and controls on travel and business to fight outbreaks of the coronavirus’s delta variant.
That led to a drop in oil prices Monday as traders adjusted forecasts of Chinese demand.
Beijing’s policy of pursuing zero virus cases “points towards the risk of aggressive measures” that “may continue to put a cap on growth,” said Yeap Jun Rong of IG in a report.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.26% rose 0.3% to 4,479.71. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.31% added 0.3% to 35,625.40. The Nasdaq COMP, -0.20% fell 29.14 points to 14,793.76.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude CLU21, -0.07% rose 10 cents to $67.36. Brent crude BRNV21, -0.12%, used to price international oils, gained 16 cents to $69.62.
The dollar USDJPY, +0.05% gained to 109.28 yen from Monday’s 109.24.