Asian Shares Slide On Inflation, Growth Worries

Asian stocks fell broadly on Monday despite Wall Street’s positive close on Friday. A cautious undertone prevailed due to lingering concerns over inflation and growth.

Chinese shares fluctuated before ending marginally lower after the People’s Bank of China stood pat on its benchmark lending rates for corporate and household loans in a widely expected move. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged up 0.42 percent to 21,163.91.

Japanese shares declined, with chip-related and energy stocks leading losses. The Nikkei average dropped 191.78 points, or 0.74 percent, to 25,771.22 – marking a more than five-month low. The broader Topix index closed 0.92 percent lower at 1,818.94.

Japan Petroleum fell over 8 percent, Inpex lost 9.4 percent and Idemitsu Kosan plunged 7 percent. In the technology sector, Tokyo Electron and Shin-Etsu Chemical gave up 5-6 percent.

Seoul stocks tumbled to close at a 19-month low and the won touched its 27-month low as recession worries mount.

South Korea’s finance minister reiterated the forex authorities’ recent stance that they would take necessary steps to stabilize the currency market in case of excessive volatility.

The Kospi average fell 2.04 percent to 2,391.03, marking its lowest close since Nov 4, 2020. Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and LG Energy Solution lost 2-3 percent.

Australian markets fell for a seventh straight session and hit fresh 16-month lows as miners plunged amid a commodities selloff on short-term demand woes.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dipped 0.64 percent to 6,433.40 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended 0.81 percent lower at 6,609.50. BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group plummeted 5-9 percent.

Falling oil prices weighed on the energy sector, with Woodside Petroleum and Santos declining 5-6 percent.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index finished marginally lower at 10,588.20 as investors awaited comments from Federal Reserve head Jerome Powell this week for clues on the outlook for interest rates.

U.S. stocks ended a volatile session mixed on Friday, suffering their biggest weekly percentage decline in two years.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.4 percent and the S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent as four types of futures and options contracts expired.

The Dow slipped 0.1 percent to close at its lowest level since December 2020 as disappointing reports on industrial production and leading economic indicators added to signs of economic slowdown.

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