Asian stocks hit 1-year low amid Turkey woes, bearish China equities

Tokyo, Japan Published: Aug 15, 2018, 02:35 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Asian stocks retreated to a one-year low on Wednesday as bearish Chinese markets worsened investor sentiment already hurt by Turkey's financial crisis.

Spreadbetters expected European stocks to open slightly higher, with Britain`s FTSE seen rising 0.2 per cent, Germany's DAX adding 0.1 per cent and France s CAC gaining 0.15 per cent.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid more than 1 percent to its lowest since August 2017, after bouncing 0.4 per cent the previous day when the Turkish lira showed signs of stabilising.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.5 per cent, reaching a near one-year low, and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.3 per cent. Signs of the world's second-largest economy losing momentum and the ongoing Sino-US trade conflict have weighed on Chinese equities.

"Investors tend to focus on negative aspects of listed companies` first-half reports, as there is much pessimism and caution in a falling market," said Linus Yip, a Hong Kong-based analyst at First Shanghai Securities.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 1 per cent after rallying more than 2 per cent on Tuesday. South Korean markets were closed for a public holiday.

The lira - which plummeted to a record low of 7.24 to the dollar at the week's start, rattling global markets - was about 2 per cent weaker at 6.47 after rebounding more than 8 percent overnight.

While the lira clung above record lows, tensions between Washington and Ankara remained on the boil, keeping the currency on a shaky footing.

Turkey has raised tariffs on some US products under the principle of reciprocity "in response to the US administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", Vice President Fuat Oktay wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had said on Tuesday that Ankara would boycott electronic products from the United States, retaliating in a row with Washington that has helped drive the lira to record lows.

Underscoring lingering concerns over the crisis in Turkey, the dollar hit a 13-month peak against a basket of currencies, supported by its safe-haven status.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback`s strength against a group of six major currencies stretched overnight gains and reached 96.862,, its highest since late June 2017.

The strength of the US currency was compounded by the euro`s fall, which has been dogged by potential risks to European banks from Turkey's financial turmoil.

"The lira rallied yesterday, but there is not remedial plan for Turkey`s internal and external imbalances. Europe`s banks will have to reserve more against these potential losses, and already low capital adequacy ratios will be tested," wrote Carl Weinberg, chief international economist at High Frequency Economics.

The euro dipped to $1.1319 , its weakest since July 2017. The euro also struggled near a 13-month low versus the Swiss franc, a traditional safe-haven currency.
Adding to overnight gains, the dollar last traded up 0.1 percent at 111.25 yen.

China's onshore yuan weakened to a 15-month low above 6.9 per dollar after the country's central bank set the lowest mid-point since May 2017 following the dollar`s broad surge.

Government bond yields edged lower as risk appetite dampened across the region.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield declined 1 basis point to 2.882 per cent after poking above 2.900 per cent on Tuesday.

Crude oil prices felt pressure from a stronger dollar, which increases the cost burden on non-US buyers of commodities.

Brent crude futures dipped 0.2 per cent to $72.31 a barrel and US crude shed 0.45 per cent to $66.73 a barrel.

Spot gold fell to an 18-month low of $1,186.70 an ounce, having declined 1.9 per cent this week.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell about 1.5 per cent to a one-year low of $5,950 per tonne. Easing fears over a possible strike at a mine in Chile accelerated the metal's fall.

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