Hong Kong Stocks Slip As China-US Tensions Rise

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2019-10-09 HKT 16:32

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  • Traders were nervous as a row over an NBA team's manager's remarks on Hong Kong's protest movement added to China-US tensions. Photo: RTHK

    Traders were nervous as a row over an NBA team's manager's remarks on Hong Kong's protest movement added to China-US tensions. Photo: RTHK

Hong Kong stocks ended with fresh losses on Wednesday as dealers fret over rising tensions between China and the United States ahead of key trade talks this week.

The Hang Seng Index slipped 0.8 percent, to 25,682.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4 percent, to 2,924 and the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.7 percent, to 1,609.

Days before high-level negotiations were due to resume, Beijing has hit out at the decisions and moved to take steps against the National Basketball Association in a brewing row over a team manager's remarks on Hong Kong's protest movement.

Meanwhile the US announced restrictions on 28 Chinese entities over human rights violations in Xinjiang province and imposed visa restrictions on some officials.

Asian markets mostly fell after hefty losses in New York on Wednesday night, while the pound remained beaten down by fears Britain is on the verge of crashing out of the EU.

Tokyo closed down 0.6 percent. Sydney was also off 0.7 percent, Singapore dropped 0.8 percent and Taipei lost more than one percent.

Manila, Wellington, Taipei and Jakarta were also in the red but Mumbai posted gains.

"It will be interesting to see how it plays out this week between the US and China," Andrew Balls, at Pacific Investment Management, told Bloomberg News.

The flare-up comes "at a time when we already see growth pretty weak in the first half of next year and you have at least some evidence of weakness in manufacturing spilling into services".

On the currency markets, the sterling was under pressure again. With many economists warning a no-deal Brexit could be calamitous for the British economy, the pound tumbled against the US dollar and euro and there were warnings it could fall even further. In Hong Kong, it was trading at HK$9.63.

With negative sentiment prevalent across trading floors, the price of oil extended losses as investors worry about the impact of the prolonged trade war on demand. (AFP)