Asia Down Amid U.S. Uncertainty

Asia markets slipped on Wednesday as investors watched for developments in the United States after lawmakers launched an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The Nikkei 225 lost 78.69 points, or 0.4%, to 22,030.15, as shares of index heavyweight Softbank Group fell 2.3% and Fanuc lost 3%

The Japanese yen, often viewed as a safe-haven currency in times of uncertainty, traded at 107.30 against the U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 107.5 in the previous session.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index slid 335.65 points, or 1.3%, to 25,945.35.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry after meeting with key leaders in the House committee and the Democratic leadership team.

Tuesday’s announcement came after reports about a phone call earlier this year between Trump and Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky. The U.S. president allegedly pressured Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s family. Trump said on Tuesday he would release the full transcript of the controversial call.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept its cash rate on hold at 1%, following a larger-than-expected rate cut in August. In a media release, the New Zealand central bank said "there remains scope for more fiscal and monetary stimulus" if necessary.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6780 after seeing an earlier high of $0.6804.


In China, the CSI 300 gave back 30.1 points, or 0.8%, to 3,870.98

On the trade front, Trump said Tuesday that he will not accept a "bad deal" with Beijing, ahead of negotiations between the two largest economies of the world set to take place in the coming weeks. Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi said Beijing expects Washington to "remove all unreasonable restrictions."

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index subtracted 27.65 points, or 1.3%, to 2,073.39

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index dropped 44.32 points, or 0.4%, to 10,873.69

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index doffed 29.64 points, or 0.9%, to 3,125.52

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 eked up 2.73 points to 10,861.44

In Australia, the ASX 200 moved lower 38.65 points, or 0.6%, to 6,710.22