Asia Declines with China-U.S. Tensions

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mostly lower on Friday as tensions between Beijing and Washington weighed on investor sentiment.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 88.21 points, or 0.4%, to 22,439.94.

Japanese game maker Nintendo saw its stock jump 2.58% on Friday after the firm reported Thursday a 428% surge in profits.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.58 per U.S. dollar after seeing levels around 106.4 against the greenback earlier in the trading week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng collapsed 398.96 points, or 1.6%, to 24,531.62. Shares of Chinese tech firms listed in the city tumbled. Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent plunged 5% while Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation’s stock in Hong Kong dropped 8.7%.

In corporate news, shares of Korean Air Lines surged 5.5% on Friday. The moves came after the airline reported a net profit in the second quarter on the back of strong cargo demand, according to local news agency Yonhap. The positive earnings report came despite the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the global airline industry.

The Reserve Bank of Australia said in its monetary policy statement released Friday that the pace of recovery of the Australian economy is "expected to be slower than previously forecast."

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7211 following the RBA’s monetary policy statement release, having seen an earlier high of $0.7243.

CHINA

The CSI 300 faded 54.83 points, or 1.2%, to 4,707.93.

On the economic data front, data released Friday by China’s General Administration of Customs showed dollar-denominated exports in July rose 7.2% from a year ago. That was far beyond the 0.2% year-on-year decline in China’s dollar-denominated exports expected by economists.

Meanwhile, the customs data also showed dollar-denominated imports fell 1.4% from a year ago, against predictions of a 1% year-on-year rise.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders banning U.S. transactions with Chinese tech firms Tencent and ByteDance.

The ban will take effect in 45 days and could attract retaliation from Beijing. The latest development comes as tensions between the two economic powerhouses have heated up in recent weeks.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index lost 13.59 points, or 0.5%, to 2,545.51.

In Korea, the Kospi gained 9.06 points, or 0.4%, to 2,351.67

In Taiwan, the Taiex index erased 84.63 points, or 0.7%, to 12,828.87

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 ditched 117.92 points, or 1%, to 11,646.68

In Australia, the ASX 200 slumped 37.35 points, or 0.6%, to 6,004.84