Asia Tumbles On Slowdown Fears

Stocks in Asia slipped on Wednesday amid renewed fears of a global economic slowdown.

The Nikkei 225 dropped 106.63 points, or 0.5%, to 21,778.61, as shares of index heavyweights Softbank Group faltered 2.7%, and Fanuc dropped 2.2%.

The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency in times of market turmoil, traded at 107.76 against the U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 108.0 in the previous session.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng returned from a day off to lose 49.58 points, or 0.2%, to 26,042.68, as shares of Chinese tech behemoth Tencent slipped 1.4%.

The moves across the region came ahead of Hong Kong retail sales data for August, set to be released on Wednesday. The sector has taken a hit amid protracted protests in the city that have lasted for months and periodically degenerated into violence. That comes on top of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, which has lasted more than a year and taken a toll on Hong Kong’s economy.

Australian markets swooned, as most of the sectors declined. Shares of National Australia Bank dropped 2.3% after the lender announced Wednesday that it would incur additional charges of 1.18 billion Australian dollars ($791.96 million U.S.), which is expected to slash its cash earnings in the second half of fiscal 2019 by about 1.123 billion Australian dollars ($753.70 million U.S.) after tax.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6704 after falling from highs above $0.675 yesterday.

Markets in mainland China were still shuttered for holiday.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex index fell 19.77 points, or 0.2%, to 10,947.88

In Korea, the Kospi index eased 40.51 points, or 2%, to 2,031.91

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index let go of 42.58 points, or 1.4%, to 3,103.45

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 settled 45.35 points, or 0.4%, to 10,951.64

In Australia, the ASX 200 withered 102.91 points, or 1.5%, to 6,639.94