Trade Uncertainty Takes Toll on Stocks

Stocks in Asia mostly slipped on Wednesday following overnight developments on the U.S.-China trade front.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan sank 66.07 points, or 0.3%, to 21,469.18, with shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group dropping 2.4%

The Japanese yen traded at 108.17 against the U.S. dollar, weakening from levels below 108 touched yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index lost 26.45 points, or 0.1%, to 28,593.17

Shares of Chinese live-streaming platform DouYu International Holdings were priced at the low end ahead of their public debut on the NASDAQ stateside later on Wednesday. The firm is backed by Chinese tech behemoth Tencent, which saw its own Hong Kong-listed stock rise more than 0.1%.

Korean stocks fell backward, as chipmaker SK Hynix saw its stock fall 2%

Singapore’s exports dropped much more than expected in June, with data on Wednesday showing non-oil domestic exports in June plunging 17.3% year-on-year, widely missing the expected 9.9% contraction by economists.

It was also the largest decline since February 2013, when exports dropped 33.2% as compared to the year before.

The Straits Times index was flat in afternoon trade, while the Singapore dollar weakened 0.21% against the greenback to 1.3610, following levels below 1.356 seen yesterday.

That comes on the back of a decline in Singapore’s gross domestic product for the second quarter, which was also well below forecasts.

Economists now widely expect Singapore’s central bank to ease monetary policy, as its export-reliant economy slows amid the U.S.-China trade war.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7009 after trading in a range between $0.700 and $0.705 for much of the week.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dipped 2.2 points, or 0.1%, to 3,804.64

U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Washington and Beijing have a long way to go on trade, adding that America could place tariffs on an additional $325 billion worth of Chinese goods "if we want."

Trump’s comments come after China and the U.S. agreed not to ratchet up trade tensions in an effort to restart negotiations, with the two countries already having slapped billions of dollars worth of tariffs on each other’s goods

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index slipped 18.95 points, or 0.9%, to 2,072.92

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index advanced 4.84 points, or 0.1%, to 3,364.87

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index slumped 57.57 points, or 0.5%, to 10,828.48

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 recovered 3.6 points to 10,654.80

In Australia, the ASX 200 regained 32.26 points, or 0.5%, to 6,673.26