China sell-off drives Asian equities lower


Beijing's recent regulatory crackdowns on a range of local private companies triggered a heavy sell-off in top Chinese tech stocks and have started seeping into currency and debt markets.

BENGALURU: Asian emerging stock markets fell across the board on Wednesday as a rout in Chinese equities for a fourth consecutive session sapped risk appetite, ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the day.

Beijing's recent regulatory crackdowns on a range of local private companies triggered a heavy sell-off in top Chinese tech stocks and have started seeping into currency and debt markets.

The benchmark Shanghai index, which fell as much as 2% earlier in the session, recouped some losses to close 0.6% lower.

Chinese 10-year government bond futures were down 0.35%.

"Chinese benchmark stock indices are presently flirting with bear-market territory. However, in the long run, the impact on Chinese growth remains to be seen," said Daniel Dubrovsky, strategist at trading platform IG. "This is likely a very emotional reaction from investors in the near term," he said.

Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines lost between 0.2% and 0.8%. Markets focused on a Fed meeting and a news conference by Chairman Jerome Powell later on Wednesday for hints on the central bank paring back stimulus potentially by the end of this year.

"A more cautious view towards tapering by the Fed could trigger a relief rally in Asian currencies, as it would suggest a later taper start date and provide impetus for short-term carry trade in Asian bonds," said Wei-Liang Chang, a macro strategist (FX and Credit) at DBS Bank.

The Philippine peso led gains among currencies, as U.S. Treasury yields tumbled overnight to pull the greenback lower on lingering concerns about the fast-spreading Delta virus variant that could thwart global economic growth.

The Singapore dollar, Taiwan dollar and Malaysian ringgit traded flat to 0.3% higher.

Indian shares fell 0.9%, dragged by banking and pharmaceutical stocks, after the International Monetary Fund trimmed its economic growth forecast for the country.

Thailand's financial markets, were closed for a public holiday. - Reuters

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