The Business Times

Asian markets down as Kim-Trump summit ends abruptly

Published Thu, Feb 28, 2019 · 07:53 AM

[HONG KONG] Asian markets mostly fell Thursday, led by Seoul, as a summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un ended abruptly without an agreement.

Equities had been fluctuating through the day on tempered optimism over China-US trade talks, weak factory data from Beijing and fresh geopolitical tensions in Kashmir.

But they took a decisive turn south after an expected lunch and signing ceremony between the US and North Korean leaders was called off at the last minute.

The shock news came just hours after Mr Kim raised the prospect of a permanent US diplomatic presence in Pyongyang and Mr Trump said he was in "no rush" for a speedy deal over North Korea's nuclear programme.

Both men left the summit venue in Hanoi without a public signing ceremony.

Seoul dived 1.8 per cent and Tokyo ended 0.8 per cent lower, while Shanghai shed 0.4 per cent and Hong Kong was off 0.3 per cent in the afternoon. Singapore shed 0.7 per cent.

Manila and Jakarta were more than one per cent down each while Bangkok slipped 0.4 per cent, though there were gains in Sydney and Wellington.

The global rally that has characterised most of this year had already taken a knock after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers that "real progress" had been made in trade talks with China, but a lot of work was still needed before a pact is signed.

While his comments did not derail expectations of an agreement at some point - with both sides reporting good progress and Mr Trump delaying a deadline for a deal - it did give traders pause for thought, observers said.


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