Asian Shares Mostly Lower On Recession Fears

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Wednesday as recession worries took center stage and investors awaited an update from the FOMC meeting minutes due later in the day.

The dollar’s surge pulled down gold prices to a seven-month low while oil prices rose about 2 percent after falling below $100 a barrel for the first time since early May on Tuesday.

Chinese shares tumbled as another wave of COVID infections across Shanghai raised the specter of another lockdown. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index fell 1.43 percent to 3,355.35.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 1.22 percent lower at 21,586.66 as recession fears deepened.

Japanese shares ended sharply lower, dragged down by energy stocks. The Nikkei average fell 1.20 percent to 26,107.65, snapping a two-day rally. The broader Topix index dropped 1.23 percent to 1,855.97.

Oil explorer Inpex lost over 10 percent, Japan Petroleum gave up 8 percent and Idemitsu Kosan slumped 6.1 percent.

Commodities trading firms Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp both fell around 5 percent after former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev threatened oil and gas supply cuts to Japan.

Eisai soared 5.9 percent after its partner Biogen said the U.S. FDA will expedite its review of their experimental Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab.

Seoul stocks tumbled to hit a 20-month low as bleak data from Europe and a new wave of COVID-19 cases in Shanghai stoked recession fears.

The Kospi average plummeted 2.13 percent to 2,292.01, drifting below the 2,300 mark for the first time since Oct. 30, 2020. Top refiner SK Innovation plunged 5.3 percent, steel giant POSCO Holdings lost 3.6 percent and automaker Hyundai Motor shed 2.8 percent.

LG Energy Solution gained 2.5 percent on news that it will supply batteries to Japanese commercial vehicle maker Isuzu for its electric trucks.

Australian markets declined, dragged down by commodity-related mining and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.52 percent to 6,594.50 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed half a percent lower at 6,784.30.

BHP, Rio Tinto, Santos and Woodside Energy fell 6-7 percent after commodity prices slumped on fears of a global recession.

Across the Tasman, the benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index rallied 1.60 percent to 11,141.07 on expectations that the oil price slump will help slow inflation and lower the pressure on central banks to continue aggressive interest-rate hikes.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as concerns about the state of the economy offset signs of an easing in U.S.-China tensions.

The Dow slipped 0.4 percent while the S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 1.8 percent.

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