Asian markets fell in early trading Wednesday, following new doubts about a U.S.-China trade deal and ahead of an expected interest-rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
While U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump, in recent days had touted progress in trade talks, Reuters reported Tuesday that a “phase one” deal might not be ready to be signed at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile next month. “Our goal is to sign it in Chile. But sometimes texts aren’t ready,” a U.S. official told Reuters.
Separately, China accused the U.S. of “bullying” over a proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment in U.S. networks, and China’s ambassador to the United Nations suggested that U.S. criticism over human rights could impact trade talks.
Meanwhile, investors are awaiting the conclusion of the Fed’s two-day meeting, with many expecting the third rate cut of the year but uncertain if the central bank will signal further monetary easing in the future.
Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite edged down 0.4 while the Shenzhen Composite slid 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.4%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan , Singapore , Malaysia and Indonesia mostly rose slightly. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5%.
Among individual stocks, electronics company NEC slid in Tokyo trading, along with SoftBank and Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing . In Hong Kong, Apple component maker AAC fell, along with PetroChina . Chip maker SK Hynix retreated in South Korea while BHP and Rio Tinto fell in Australia.