Muted mid-week trading for Asian markets on Wednesday

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dipped 0.58%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.24% lower, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 barely saw activity, closing 0.37% higher.

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Uncertainties on the trade war, geopolitical issues and the fall in oil prices have led to lacklustre trading in Asian markets on Wednesday, with indices barely seeing activity.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index wavered around positive and negative territory throughout the day, finally closing 0.24% lower or 14.10 points, at 5,829.00 on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 barely saw activity, closing 0.37% higher or 80.40 points, at 22,091.18.

At around 3.30pm, Singapore time, Singapore’s Straits Times Index showed an increase of 0.30% or 9.18 points, to 3,040.57, showing little movement as the index had already opened higher in the morning by 0.30%.

Chinese markets were also in the same plight. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dipped 0.58% or 147.43 points, to 25,199.12 by late afternoon, while the Shenzhen Composite Index was lower by 0.24% or 3.07 points, at 1,297.22. The Shanghai Composite Index was trading higher by 0.33% or 8.47 points, at 2,603.30 points.

Geopolitical risks are bugbears for investors. Overnight, the markets in the United States (US) ended Tuesday’s session lower, amid mixed company earnings.

The case of the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has led to Saudi Arabia being condemned by countries such as Germany, the US, and the United Kingdom. Germany has stopped the approval of future arm exports to the country due to the incident, while US’s President Donald Trump has said that he is “not satisfied” with the country’s explanation of the journalist’s death.

Oil prices plunged about 5% to two-month lows on worries about demand and increased oil production. However, there are fears that the tension between Saudi Arabia and the US over the murder of Mr Khashoggi may cause Saudi Arabia to withhold oil production in retaliation, driving oil prices higher.

Meanwhile, Italy is facing a budget standoff with the European Union, after getting rejected for its budget plan.

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