Tue, 07 Feb 2023

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Widespread protests sweeping through a number of cities in China sent jitters through Asian stock markets on Monday.

Protesters are demanding an easing of restrictions, including lockdowns, imposed as a result of increasing cases of Covid-19.

"Consumer and investor sentiment has been so damaged by these policies that you're not going to see any recovery in any meaningful sense until there's a shift," Mattie Bekink, the China director at the organization, said told CNBC's Squawk Box Asia on Monday

"We've already seen markets move quite significantly based on basically rumors that Beijing was going to relax, that was just a few weeks ago," Bekink said.

"The lockdowns seem to be endless and relentless," she added.

All the major indices across the Asia Pacific region traded well into the red on Monday, while the U.S. dollar, feeding on the uncertainty, staged a rally. Oil prices fell two percent.

South Korea's Kospi Composite tumbled 34.93 points or 1.43 percent to 2,409.93.

In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 declined 74.25 points or 0.65 percent to 11,308.31.

The Australian All Ordinaries retreated 29.00 points or 0.39 percent to 7,418.60.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 120.20 points or 0.42 percent to 28,162.83.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong ended down 275.64 points or 1.57 percent at 17,297.94. The key index at one stage was down more than 4 percent.

China's Shanghai Composite dropped 23.14 points or 0.75 percent to 3,078.55.

On foreign exchange markets, the Australian dollar shed more than one percent to 0.6678 by the Sydney close Monday. The euro weakened to 1.0356. The British pound fell to 1.2057. The Swiss franc was little changed at 0.9464. The Japanese yen rose to 138.29.

The Canadian dollar slid to 1.3453. The New Zealand dollar was out of favor at 0.6200.

(File photo | AP).

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