Asia Declines as Hong Kong Tensions Rise

Stocks in Asia slipped on Tuesday as tensions remained high in Hong Kong amid increasingly violent protests.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index returned from a long weekend to lose 229.38 points, or 1.1%, to 20,455.44

The Japanese yen traded at 105.30 against the U.S. dollar after seeing lows above 105.5 in the previous session

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index got hammered 543.42 points, or 2.1%, to 25,281.30. The city’s airport reopened on Tuesday after operations were crippled on Monday due to demonstrators staging a sit-in at the airport.

Amid the political turmoil in Hong Kong, flagship carrier Cathay Pacific saw its stock drop more than 2%, while Bocom International cut its rating on the stock from "buy" to "neutral," citing expected falling demand due to the ongoing unrest, among other factors.

Singapore revised its 2019 gross domestic product forecast downward on Tuesday amid concerns over the global economic outlook and fears of impending recession in the country.

Often seen as a bellwether for global growth due to the city-state’s heavy reliance on international trade rather than its domestic economy, Singapore cut its Gross Domestic Product forecast range to 0-1% from its previous 1.5%-2.5% estimate.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6755 following an earlier low of $0.6744.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 slid 33.35 points, or 0.9%, to 3,655.75

Meanwhile, shares of Shenzhen Airport soared 10%.

The People’s Bank of China set the official midpoint reference rate for the yuan at 7.0326 per dollar on Tuesday, stronger than expected but above the psychologically important seven-yuan-per-U.S.-dollar level for the fourth consecutive session.

The onshore yuan last traded at 7.0647 per dollar, while its offshore counterpart changed hands at 7.1033 against the greenback.

The Chinese currency has been closely watched by investors in recent days after it weakened past the seven level against the greenback last week, leading the U.S. Treasury Department to designate China a currency manipulator.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex dropped 109.7 points, or 1.1%, to 10.362.66

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index also came back from holiday and fell 22.21 points, or 0.7%, to 3,146.73

The Kospi in Korea skidded 16.46 points, or 0.9%, to 1,925.83

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 retreated 17.97 points, or 0.2%, to 10,854.77

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 21.73 points, or 0.3%, to 6,568.54