Asian Shares Mostly Lower As IMF Lowers China Growth Forecast

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Tuesday as investors fretted about the impact of rising interest rates, U.S.-China tensions and Italy’s decision to expand budget deficits.

The trade war between China and the United States may intensify after China allowed its currency to slip past a psychological bulwark.

The International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecast for Chinese economic growth in 2019 to 6.2 percent from 6.4 percent, citing the “negative effect of recent tariff actions”.

Chinese markets recovered from early losses to finish modestly higher amid bets that policymakers will increase support to counter the negative impact of the escalating trade war on Chinese exporters.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 4.50 points or 0.2 percent to 2,721.01 after tumbling 3.7 percent on Monday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended marginally lower at 26,172.91.

Japanese shares fell notably to hit a three-week low as a firm yen added to investor worries over China and rising U.S. bond yields.

The Nikkei 225 Index slumped 314.33 points or 1.3 percent to 23,469.39, the lowest closing level since September 18th, as trading resumed after a holiday on Monday for the Health-Sports Day. The broader Topix Index closed 1.8 percent lower at 1,761.12.

Canon, Panasonic, Honda Motor and Toyota Motor dropped 2-3 percent as the dollar slipped against the yen on worries over Chinese growth and simmering anxiety about higher U.S. bond yields.

Machinery makers that have exposure to the Chinese market also fell, with Hitachi Construction Machinery and Murata Manufacturing falling around 2 percent.

Tokyo Electron slumped 4.5 percent and Advantest lost 4.4 percent after the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index fell sharply once again.

Australian markets tumbled, dragged down by miners, financials and healthcare companies. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 59.20 points or 1 percent to finish at 6,041.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 63.10 points or 1 percent at 6,155.50.

Ramsay Health Care gave up 2.8 percent as its French subsidiary raised its takeover bid for European private hospital operator Capio by 20 percent to $1.28 billion. CSL plunged 4.5 percent, Cochlear plummeted 5.2 percent and ResMed declined 2.3 percent.

Lender Commonwealth Bank shed 0.9 percent after announcing it would pay back any “unauthorized advice fees” that were charged to dead customers.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto ended narrowly mixed, while gold miner Newcrest dropped nearly 1 percent.

Woodside Petroleum fell 1.4 percent and Oil Search retreated 1.8 percent after oil prices fell sharply on Monday before ending off their day’s lows.

The South Korean markets were closed for a public holiday.

New Zealand shares extended losses for a seventh straight session as rising U.S. bond yields spurred concerns that the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 77.12 points or 0.84 percent to 9,069.98, with Pushpay Holdings, A2 Milk and Restaurant Brands New Zealand falling 3-4 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fluctuated before ending mixed, as technology stocks came under selling pressure for the third day running and investors remained concerned about the impact of U.S.-China trade war on global growth.

The Dow rose 0.2 percent while the S&P 500 slid marginally and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell as much as 0.7 percent.

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