Hong Kong Plunges 5%+

Stocks in Asia Pacific fell on Friday as rising tensions between the U.S. and China weighed on investor sentiment.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 dropped 164.15, or 0.8%, to 20,388.16.

The Japanese yen traded 107.48 per U.S. dollar, off lows around 108 seen earlier in the trading week

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong collapsed 1,349.89 points, or 5.6%, to 22,930.14.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6522 after touching levels above $0.658 yesterday.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 lost 89.73 points, or 2.3%, to 3,824.06.

China is poised to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong after months of anti-government protests in the Chinese-ruled city. The move has sparked concerns that Beijing is tightening its grip on Hong Kong, and there are worries it could trigger another wave of pro-democracy protests.

The draft law was announced at the annual National People’s Congress, the Chinese parliament, which kicked off on Friday.
The laws would reportedly ban secession, foreign interference, terrorism and all seditious activities aimed at toppling the central government and any external interference in the former British colony.

China also said it will not set a Gross Domestic Product target for 2020.

That comes as tensions between Beijing and Washington have risen in recent days, over issues such as the coronavirus pandemic as well as a bill that was passed which could force Chinese firms to de-list on U.S. exchanges.

The onshore Chinese yuan broke the 7.13 level against the greenback on Friday. That was its weakest since October 2019, according to Wind Information. It later recovered from those lows and was last at 7.1276 per dollar.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi subtracted 28.18 points, or 1.4%, to 1,970.13

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index let go of 55.51 points, or 2.2%, to 2,499.83

In Taiwan, the Taiex index shed 197.16 points, or 1.8%, to 10,811.15

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 docked 68.92 points, or 0.6%, to 10,662.63.

In Australia, the ASX 200 slipped 53.4 points, or 1%, to 5,497.03.