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Asian stocks struggled to shake off contagion fears on Tuesday and selling pressure persisted amid concern that troubles at indebted developer China Evergrande could ripple across the world economy, markets and financial system.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng hit a fresh 11-month low and was down 0.3% by midsession, with a early gains in banks and property stocks paring a little. Japan’s Nikkei returned from a market holiday with a drop of almost 2%. (T)
Currency, commodity and bond markets steadied, but overall demand for riskier assets remained low especially as the Federal Reserve is expected to step closer to tapering on Wednesday.
European futures rose 0.5% in the Asia session. FTSE futures advanced 0.7% and S&P 500 futures climbed 0.6% a day after selling hit banks on both sides of the Atlantic and tipped the S&P 500 to its steepest fall in two months.
“For markets to bounce we need to see concrete actions from the authorities to stem any wide spread contagion,” said Dave Wang, a portfolio manager at Nuvest Capital in Singapore.
Gold was down on Tuesday morning in Asia. Investors were taking a risk-averse stance, however, ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy decision and China Evergrande Group’s ongoing debt crisis.
Gold futures inched down 0.08% to $1,762.35 by 12:14 AM ET (4:14 AM GMT). However, the yellow metal reversed some losses from Monday, when it hit an over one-month low.
China Evergrande’s debt crisis continues on investors’ radars as an $83.5 million interest payment for its March 2022 bond is due on Thursday and a second $47.5 million interest payment for its March 2024 notes is due not long afterward on Sep. 29.
With around $300 billion in liabilities, it remains to be seen whether the developer can make good on the payments.
Investors also await clues on the Fed’s timetable to begin asset tapering and hike interest rates in the central bank’s policy decision, due to be handed down later in the day.
Cryptocurrency prices bounced off 1-1/2 month lows on Tuesday as a heavy selloff overnight linked to concerns about a possible loan default by property developer China Evergrande eased slightly, but investors braced for more volatility.
Bitcoin, the biggest and the best known cryptocurrency, traded around $43,000, recovering from a fall to $40,192 earlier in the session. It hit a four-month high of $52,000 on Sept 6.
Smaller rival ether, the coin linked to the Ethereum blockchain, rose 1% to $3,012 after falling below $3,000 for the first time since early August.
Global markets started the week on a turbulent note after fears that Evergrande’s troubles could lead to a fallout for the Chinese and global economies prompted a selloff in riskier assets.
“We can’t take a very positive view just as yet until we get through the next few days,” said Matthew Dibb, chief operating officer at crypto index fund provider Singapore-based Stack Funds.
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