Markets in Asia Mostly Fall as Investors Look ahead to 2023 Headwinds

Markets in Asia-Pacific mostly fell to the ground following overnight losses in the U.S. Wall Street, as investors worried that loosening pandemic restrictions in China might add to global inflation.

As of 9.26 a.m. (Thai time), Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index has gained 2.13% as trade resumed after the holiday weekend – investors digested China’s move to remove quarantine requirements for tourists, reopening faster than expected.

The Shanghai Composite fell 0.28% in mainland China.

In South Korea, the Kospi slid about 2% as stocks of heavyweight chipmakers and battery manufacturers priced in the consequences of ex-dividend, which meant that owners would not be entitled to yearly dividends for the following year. The S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia lost 0.26%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan was down 0.60%.

Reports that China is planning to scrap quarantine requirements for inbound travelers and to begin granting passports and Hong Kong travel permits to mainland citizens on January 8 raised concerns about global inflationary pressures.

However, China’s reopening boosted oil prices, which stuck to a three-week high, while Russia put some limitations on crude deliveries to foreign purchasers who comply to a price cap.