Asian shares on Friday followed Wall Street and Europe lower, with markets jittery over the risk that the US Federal Reserve and other central banks might end up bringing on recessions to get inflation under control.
China’s move to relax COVID-19 restrictions has raised hopes for an end to massive disruptions from lockdowns and other strict measures to prevent infections.
However, signs of sharply increasing case numbers have raised uncertainty, with some alarmed over the possibility that the coronavirus could continue to drag on the economy.
The Shanghai Composite index shed 0.02 percent to 3,167.86, losing 1.22 percent weekly, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.42 percent to 19,450.67, but posted a weekly decline of 2.26 percent.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.87 percent to 27,527.12, down 1.34 percent from a week earlier, after a survey of manufacturers showed a further contraction in output.
Japan’s broader TOPIX declined 1.2 percent to 1,950.21, losing 0.58 percent over the week.
The preliminary reading of a factory purchasing manager’s index put manufacturing at 48.8, down from November’s 49.0, on 0-100 scale where 50 marks the break between contraction and expansion.
“This is consistent with the downbeat production forecasts issued by firms. Lingering weakness in demand was likely the main cause,” Capital Economics said in a report.
In Taiwan, the TAIEX closed down 205.58 points at 14,528.55, with turnover totaling NT$297.488 billion (US$9.69 billion), dropping 1.2 percent from a week earlier.
In Seoul, the KOSPI lost 0.04 percent to 2,360.02, a weekly decline of 1.21 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slid 0.78 percent to 7,148.7, dropping 0.89 percent weekly.
India’s SENSEX declined 0.75 percent to 61,337.81, losing 1.36 percent from a week earlier.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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