Stocks lower, Japanese yen nears 150 per dollar

An employee works at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region traded lower on Thursday as economic fears weigh.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 2.7% after briefly falling 3% in early trading, the lowest level since May 2009. The Hang Seng Tech index fell more than 4%.

Kelvin Tay, regional investment director at UBS, said the sharp drop in Hong Kong markets was due to the government’s “unprecedented silence on key economic indicators”.

“It’s largely because of concerns about the economic outlook and a spike in Covid cases amid the party congress in Beijing,” he said.

In Japan, the Nikki 225 lost 1.2% and the Topix lost 0.68%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia decreased by 1.13%.

Mainland China Shanghai Composite fell 0.94% and Shenzhen Component slipped 1.265%.

South Korea Kospi fell 1.27% and the Kosdaq fell 1.55%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan fell 1.68%.

The offshore yuan touched a record low against the US dollar overnight, weakening to 7.2745 to the dollar. It last traded at 7.2690. The japanese yen hit yet another 32-year low at 149.95 against the greenback.

US stocks fell as Treasury yields climbed on Wednesday in the United States, with the 10-year benchmark yield reaching 4.138%, the highest level since July 23, 2008.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.85% to close at 10,680.51, while the S&P 500 fell 0.67% to 3,695.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 99.99 points, or 0.33%, to end the day at 30,423.81.

– CNBC’s Chery Kang, Jesse Pound and Tanaya Macheel contributed to this report.

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