Asian markets follow Wall Street lower as oil prices press higher

Stocks slipped Thursday in Asia following a retreat on Wall Street as crude oil prices rose sharply.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 250

lost 1.1% and the Hang Seng

in Hong Kong slipped 0.1%. In Seoul, the Kospi

declined 0.6%, while the Shanghai Composite index

gave up 0.6%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200

dipped 0.1%. Stocks fell in Taiwan
but gained in Singapore

and Indonesia

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Wednesday reinstated exemptions for some Chinese exports to tariff hikes imposed during a fight with Beijing over its trade tactics. The exemptions, which expired earlier, apply to goods including breast pumps, swimming pool vacuum cleaners, electric motors and industrial components.

After a rally last week, markets have been up and down this week as investors weigh concerns about rising inflation and slower economic growth.

Investors are watching to see the outcome of meetings of NATO and a European leaders summit Thursday, where President Joe Biden will huddle with key allies to discuss imposing punishing new sanctions on Russia; and dealing with the extraordinary humanitarian crisis due to its invasion of Ukraine and working on a consensus on how to respond if Russia were to launch a cyber, chemical or even nuclear attack.

The attack on Ukraine has pushed already surging energy and other commodity prices even higher.

“Pressure points are building again with oil back on the boil, resulting in stagflation weighing on sentiment again,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500

fell 1.2% to 4,456.24, with more than 80% of the stocks in the benchmark index closing lower. The Dow

slid 1.3% to 34,358.50. Both indexes are now on pace for a weekly loss.

The Nasdaq

fell 1.3% to 13,922.60.

U.S. benchmark crude oil

added 88 cents to $115.81 per barrel. It rose $5.66 to settle at $114.93 per barrel on Wednesday. A barrel of Brent crude
the international standard, advanced $1.28 to $119.08 per barrel. Prices are up more than 50% in 2022 so far, raising concerns about the impact on a wide range of consumer goods and consumer spending overall.

Many of the higher costs incurred by businesses have been passed on to consumers and higher prices for food, clothing and other goods could lead them to cut spending, resulting in slower economic growth. Central banks have been reacting by raising interest rates to try and counter the impact from inflation.

Bond yields have been rising overall as the market prepares for higher interest rates, but they eased back Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.33% from 2.37% from Tuesday.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar

rose to $121.25 Japanese yen from $121.15 yen late Wednesday.

Read More: Asian markets follow Wall Street lower as oil prices press higher

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