Stocks in Asia traded lower Tuesday afternoon as investor sentiment dipped on concerns about the global outlook, after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed its world economic growth forecast on Monday.
In the Greater China region, the Shanghai composite declined more than 0.7 percent, the Shenzhen component fell 0.955 percent and the Shenzhen composite shed 0.734 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped about 1 percent.
Beijing announced on Monday that the Chinese economy grew 6.6 percent in 2018, which was the slowest pace since 1990. Meanwhile, the official Xinhua News Agency reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country needed to be on guard for “black swan” events while also preventing “grey rhino” events.
A black swan event is an unforeseen occurrence that has dire consequences whereas a grey rhino is an obvious threat that is ignored.
“The grey rhino is very clear, it’s the high level of debt in the whole economy from the government, the local government, and to the privately-owned enterprises and also the state-owned enterprises, this is one thing that nobody can overlook,” Francis Lun, CEO of Geo Securities, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday.
“For the black swan event, last year we had the U.S.-China trade war and this year we don’t know … what could happen but maybe … the black swan can turn into a white swan and then we’ll reach some kind of agreement with the U.S. and ease the trade tensions,” Lun said.
Officials from the U.S. and China are attempting to reach a deal to ease trade tensions between the two economic powerhouses, which rocked global markets for much of 2018.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 and Topix index fell 0.76 percent and 0.84 percent, respectively. Shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo chain of apparel stores, slipped almost 1 percent.
Australia’s ASX 200 declined by 0.65 percent, with the sectors mixed. The heavily-weighted financial subindex Down Under declined almost 1.5 percent as shares of the country’s so-called Big Four banks saw losses. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group slipped 1.79 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia declined 1.53 percent, Westpac fell 2.18 percent and National Australia Bank shed 1.69 percent.
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