Asian stock markets sank Thursday after Chinese manufacturing weakened and Russian shelling around Ukraine's capital shook hopes of progress in peace talks.
Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo declined while Seoul gained. Oil fell more than $7 per barrel in New York but stayed above $100. Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.6% on Wednesday after U.S. economic growth was weaker than expected.
Russian forces shelled areas near Kyiv and another city Wednesday after Moscow said it would scale back operations there to promote trust.
Negotiators were meeting in Turkey to try to end the five-week-old war. Russia is "pouring cold water on headlines of constructive cease-fire talks,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1% to 3,263.19 after an index of Chinese manufacturing activity fell to a five-month low following the shutdown of much of Shanghai and two smaller industrial cities to fight coronavirus outbreaks.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 0.8% to 22,052.49. “The near-term outlook remains highly uncertain,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a report.
“Even if the outbreak is brought under control soon, it will still take a while for the economy to get back on track.” The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.5% to 27,889.09 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.2% to 7,530.80. The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.4% to 2,757.65 after data showed February industrial production improved.
India's Sensex opened less than 0.1% higher at 58,708.37. New Zealand and Jakarta gained while Singapore and Bangkok declined.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 declined to 4,602.45 after Commerce Department data showed the U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of 6.9% in the final quarter of 2021, below forecasts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% to 35,228.81.
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The Nasdaq composite lost 1.2% to 14,442.27. Markets have mostly gained ground this week as talks between Russia and Ukraine seemed to show progress. Unease over the possible disruption of Russian oil and gas exports added to concern about higher U.S. interest rates and a Chinese economic slowdown.
On Thursday, the Commerce Department is due to release its personal income and spending report for February. The Labor Department will release U.S. employment data for March on Friday.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude tumbled $7.17 to $100.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The contract rose from $3.58 on Wednesday to $107.82. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, fell from $6.29 to $105.15 per barrel in London.
It rose $3.22 the previous session to $113.45. President Joe Biden is preparing to order the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from U.S. reserves, according to two people familiar with the decision.
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That would come near to closing the U.S. production gap compared with February 2020 before the coronavirus caused a steep decline. The dollar advanced to 122.23 yen from Wednesday's 121.78 yen. The euro rose to $1.1160 from $1.1159. Source: Miamiherald