Asia markets plunge on inflation concerns

Stocks in Taiwan led declines with the TAIEX ending the trading session 3.79% lower

Display of Asia Pacific stock market data on monitor                                 

Asian stocks plunged in early trade as concerns about increasing inflation led to investors driving away from growth-focused stocks.

This week the US Federal Reserve is to assess how best to respond to receding risks that COVID-19 has in some major economies.

A test case on US inflation will also come this week when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its latest consumer price index report on Wednesday.

Taiwan to Australia

Stocks in Taiwan led declines, with the benchmark Taiwan Capitalization Weighted Stock Index (TAIEX) ending the trading session 3.79% lower.

Japanese stocks also recorded losses with the Nikkei 225 falling 3.08% at the close, while the Tokyo Stock Price Index (TOPIX) moved 2.37% lower. South Korea’s Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOPSI) ended 1.23% lower.

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 1.06% ahead of the Australian government’s budget announcement on Tuesday evening.

Hong Kong to China

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2% in late afternoon trade as Chinese tech stocks declined.

Shares of food delivery giant Meituan fell about 6% as authorities in Beijing continued to put pressure on internet firms, while tech giant Tencent fell 2.3%.

Mainland China markets, however, saw some gains toward the end of the trading session. The Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.4% higher and the Shenzhen Composite was up slightly by 0.36% at the close.

Malaysia and the Philippines

Meanwhile, stocks in Malaysia were down by 0.62% while in the Philippines they were higher by around 0.15%.

It comes as Malaysia and the Philippines released first-quarter gross domestic product data.

Malaysia’s economy contracted by 0.5% in the January to March quarter compared with a year ago. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ economy shrank 4.2% year on year.

Oil and currencies

At the same time, in currencies, the US dollar strengthened 0.14% to $90.336 against several of its peers in early Asia trade.

The Japanese yen was at ¥108.89 a dollar, while the South Korean won traded at 1,119.40 won to a dollar.

Meanwhile, Australia’s currency was roughly flat against the US, with an Austrialian dollar trading at US$0.7827.

In addition to currencies, oil markets also fell. US crude futures dropped 0.89% to $64.34 a barrel, while Brent was down 0.82% to $67.75 a barrel.

Further reading: US oil prices rise after cyber attack

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