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Asia stocks decline on lingering trade, US rates concerns

Asia stocks decline on lingering trade, US rates concerns

Asian stocks declined on Monday as investors remain worried over Sino-US trade disputes, a possible slowdown in the Chinese economy and higher US borrowing costs.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell by 1.24% in early trade, while the Topix index slipped by around 1%, with most sectors trending lower. Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi also saw losses of 0.74%, with industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics sliding by 1.14%. In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 fell 1.07%.

In China, the Shnghai Composite Index was down 0.53%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.91%.

Investors remained focused on trade tensions between the US and China. On Sunday, China's central bank governor Yi Gang said the People's Bank of China still has "plenty of monetary instruments" and "room for adjustment" with respect to countering the impact of a trade war.

Not helping the mood, oil prices jumped and Saudi Arabian shares tumbled on rising diplomatic tensions between Riyadh and the West after the monarchy warned against threats to punish it over disappearance of a journalist.

Softbank also saw its stock dropping by around 5% in the morning over concerns of the company's ties to Saudi Arabia.

Australia’s heavily weighted financial subindex fell 1.47% as major banking shares saw losses - Commonwealth Bank was down 1.52%, ANZ fell 1.78%, Westpac lower by 1.25% and the National Australia Bank declining 1.31%.

In commodities news, oil prices reversed their downtrend since early this month. Brent crude futures added 1.7% to $81.82 per barrel, bouncing back from Friday’s near-three-week low of $79.23.

In currency news, the British pound shed 0.4% in early Asian trade on Monday to $1.3096 after negotiators from the European Union and the UK failed to clinch a Brexit deal ahead of the crucial summit.

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