BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Wednesday as traders watched for signs that trade could be disrupted by U.S.-China tensions following a U.S. lawmaker’s visit to Taiwan.
Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul advanced after Beijing announced a ban on imports of some Taiwanese products, but no immediate major sanctions following the arrival of Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the United States House of Representatives. The mainland’s ruling Communist Party claims Taiwan as part of its territory and rejects any foreign official contact with the self-governing island democracy.
“China’s real show of force is yet to come,” Clifford Bennett of ACY Securities said in a statement.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4% to 3,199.91 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.5% to 27,731.52. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.5% to 19,789.98.
Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.3% to 14,705.52 after Beijing announced a ban on citrus fruits and some fish from Taiwan to show its displeasure with Pelosi’s visit. The mainland has announced military maneuvers in areas surrounding Taiwan, but there is no indication that it could punish industries such as Taiwanese producers of processor chips needed by Chinese factories that assemble the world’s smartphones.
Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.7% to 2,456.60 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.4% to 6,968.70. The New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets grew.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.7% on Tuesday after the Labor Department said U.S. employers posted fewer job openings than expected in June following interest rate hikes. interest in calming soaring inflation.
Investors fear that aggressive efforts by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to rein in inflation, which is at multi-decade highs, could derail global economic growth.
The S&P 500 fell to 4,091.19. It is down almost 1% this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.2% to 32,396.17, largely due to a drop in Caterpillar, a maker of earth-moving equipment. The company fell 5.8% after reporting weaker-than-expected revenue for the last quarter.
The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2% to 12,348.76. The Labor Department said employers posted 10.7 million jobs in June, up from 11.3 million the previous month, but still a relatively strong figure.
Job postings, which never exceeded 8 million in a month before last year, had exceeded 11 million each month from December to May before plunging in June.
Some weak data on the US economy added to suggestions that the peak of inflation has passed, but also indicates that the risk of a recession is growing.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell 37 cents to $94.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 53 cents the previous day to $94.42. Brent crude fell 45 cents to $100.09 a barrel in London. It was up 51 cents the previous session at $100.54 a barrel.
The dollar fell to 132.89 yen from 133 yen on Tuesday. The euro gained $1.0179 from $1.0174.
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