Asia markets trade lower, with Shanghai down 2% – CNBC

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Most Asian markets stumbled Wednesday, with China shares dropping sharply, as analysts pointed to renewed concerns about the mainland’s economy following lower-than-expected trade data for February.

The Shanghai composite dropped 2.9 percent, while the Shenzhen composite fell 2.22 percent.

Elsewhere, the Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 was lower by 1.32 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.61 percent and South Korea’s Kospi was lower by 0.12 percent. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 bucked the trend, tacking on 0.64 percent.

“Consolidation and reflection seems to be the name of the game after a strong run in commodities and equities,” wrote IG’s chief market strategist, Chris Weston, in an afternoon note. Weston said he saw “clear concern” from clients over “whether it is time to increase bearish positioning again.”

One factor adding to investor concerns is China’s weaker-than-expected trade data.

Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at the National Australia Bank, said in a note, “renewed concerns over China’s economic outlook following [Tuesday’s] softer than expected trade numbers halted a five-day equity rally and triggered a bid for safe haven assets.”

China’s February trade data showed exports fell 25.4 percent on-year and imports declined 13.8 percent, clocking far bigger slides than expected by analysts.

Catril added subsequent market reactions to the trade numbers suggest investors remain concerned over “the apparent soft demand for China’s exports.” He said it is still a little too early to draw any big conclusions, but noted March trade figures will be very important.

Asia markets trade lower, with Shanghai down 2% – CNBC}