Asian Stocks Down, China’s Latest COVID-19 Outbreak Expected to Worsen

By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly on Monday morning, with attention focusing on the latest COVID-19 outbreak in China.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.91% by 9:54 PM ET (1:54 AM GMT), with the Bank of Japan due to hand down its policy decision on Thursday. South Korea’s KOSPI inched down 0.07%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 0.43%. The country will release its consumer price index on Wednesday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.55%.

China’s Shanghai Composite inched down 0.07% while the Shenzhen Component was up 0.33%, with investors keeping an eye on the country’s COVID-19 outbreak that is expected to worsen. Also on the radar is the possibility that property-tax trials could be widened to more areas, meaning taxes for residential owners.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said inflation could persist for longer at a discussion panel on Friday. He added that the central bank could begin asset tapering soon but remain patient on interest rate hikes. However, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is among those who expect inflation to be a temporary phenomenon that will ease in the second half of 2022.

U.S. data, including core durable goods orders, will be released on Wednesday and the GDP for the third quarter will be released a day later.

However, some investors are wary that tighter monetary policy to curb inflation could create market volatility.

“While the risk of a correction for shares remains, with issues around inflation and China’s slowdown likely to linger for a while, they seem to be climbing the proverbial wall of worry,” AMP (OTC:AMLTF) Capital head of investment strategy and chief economist Shane Oliver wrote in a note.

In Europe, a diplomatic spat in Turkey worsened and saw the lira tumble. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ambassadors of 10 nations, including the U.S., Germany, and France, would be expelled after they demanded the release of businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala.

The European Central Bank will also hand down its policy decision on Thursday. Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc . (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Twitter Inc . (NYSE:TWTR), and HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) will release their earnings throughout the week. In Asia Pacific, Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) Co. Ltd. (KS:005930), China Vanke Co. Ltd. (HK:2202), PetroChina Co. Ltd. (SS:601857) and Ping An Insurance (HK:2318) will release their earnings.

Finance and health ministers from the Group of 20 will meet on Friday, ahead of a leaders’ summit taking place this weekend.

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