Asian markets fell in early trading Tuesday as tensions in Hong Kong ratcheted up following protests Monday that shut down the city’s airport.
Hong Kong’s airport struggled to reopen Tuesday, while protests continued, though at a smaller scale. While some flights resumed, many were canceled amid a backlog of flights following Monday’s closure.
After 10 weeks, the pro-democracy demonstrations show no sign of letting up, while Chinese officials have used the term “terrorism” to describe the protests. The clashes have weakened investors’ confidence, some analysts said, and there are fears that a harsh crackdown by China could trigger a global market selloff.
“Dropping the ‘T’ word is particularly disturbing as it does suggest a more aggressive mainland response, which triggered a wave of risk aversion across global markets,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at VM Markets, said in a note Monday night.
Meanwhile, China’s central bank set the yuan’s midpoint weaker than 7 per U.S. dollar for a fourth straight day Tuesday. The reference point of 7.0326 per dollar was weaker than the previous day, but still stronger than what analysts had expected.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
fell 1.3%, while the Shanghai Composite
slipped 0.6% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite
retreated 0.7%. Japan’s Nikkei
dropped 1.1% following a holiday Monday, and South Korea’s Kospi
edged down 0.6%. Benchmark indexes in Taiwan
all fell, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
inched down slightly.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank
dropped in Tokyo trading, along with Fast Retailing
. In Hong Kong, casino operator Galaxy Entertainment
, insurer AIA Group
and developer Sino Land
declined in South Korea, while Foxconn
fell in Taiwan. Beach Energy
surged in Australia, as did Fortescue Metals