Asia Slides on Brexit Worries

Asia-Pacific markets were mostly lower on Wednesday amid fresh global uncertainties after U.K. lawmakers again rejected the terms of a deal for Britain to withdraw from the European Union.

The Nikkei 225 average settled 213.45 points, or 1%, to 21,290.24

The Japanese yen, considered a safe haven currency, traded at 111.30 to the U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels near 111.60 last week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index dropped 113.42 points, or 0.4%, to 28,807.45

Australian markets went south as some of the sectors turned positive before market close. The energy sector fell 0.9% as oil stocks struggled for gains.

Consumer sentiment in Australia deteriorated in March, falling to its lowest level since September 2017, according to a report issued by Westpac Bank and the Melbourne Institute. Respondents were said to have been reacting to a slowdown in Australian economic growth in the second half of last year.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal deal suffered another defeat in parliament where it was rejected Tuesday evening by 149 votes.

While the route forward appears uncertain, May has already promised two more votes this week for lawmakers to decide if the U.K. should leave the 28-member bloc with no deal, or request a delay to its departure — which is currently scheduled for Mar. 29.

In other markets

The CSI 300 index dumped 31.16 points, or 0.8%, to 3,724.19

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index fell 16.66 points, or 0.5%, to 3,195.59

Korea’s Kospi Index lopped off 8.77 points, or 0.4%, to 2,148.41

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index gained 29.99 points, or 0.3%, to 10,373.32

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 let go of 9.55 points, or 0.1%, to 9,387.69

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 13.62 points, or 0.2%, to 6,161.19