Hong Kong’s Woes Keep Risk Aversion Simmering, Gold Miners Buck Falls
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Asia Pacific Stocks Talking Points:
- Equity markets were broadly lower
- Gold miners continue to stand out among the plentiful fallers
- The Japanese Yen retained support amid global and regional fears
Find out what retail foreign exchange investors make of your favorite currency’s chances right now at the DailyFX Sentiment Page
Asian markets were broadly lower Tuesday with continued political tensions in Hong Kong adding to an already gloomy mix of factors.
In the territory itself the Hang Seng was down more than 1% as Hong Kong airport struggled to reopen after Monday’s protests shut it down. There were also clear signs of a harder line from Beijing, with Chinese officials using the word ‘terrorism’ to describe the protests and reports showing a buildup of armored personnel carriers and other military hardware in nearby Shenzhen.
Hong Kong wasn’t the only bad news story around on Tuesday either. Singapore revised its 2019 Gross Domestic Product forecast range to 0-1%, from a previous 1.5-2% estimate. The city state is often seen as a regional and even global bellwether thanks to its reliance on international trade.
The downgrade came against a backdrop of ongoing worries about US-China trade and weaker than expected economic numbers from a broad range of countries. Amid broad based falls the Nikkei 225 was down by 1.2% with the ASX 200 down by 0.3%.
Turning to individual stocks, Softbank, Fast Retailing and Nintendo all saw big falls in Tokyo, while Hong Kong’s casino operator Galaxy Entertainment and insurer AIA both took hits. There were a few bright spots, mostly in the form of Australian gold miners which continue to do well out of elevated risk aversion. Northern Star Resources and St Barbara Ltd both made strong gains.
Gold prices have risen steadily since September 2018 and are now back to peaks not seen since 2013 on their monthly chart.
It’s notable though that the price remains a long way short of the peaks seen in 2011 and 2012, in the $1800/ounce area. Those highs are likely to remain in focus, however, for as long as trade rapprochement between Beijing and Washington stays elusive.
That same risk aversion was evident in currency markets with the counter-cyclical Japanese Yen close to seven-month highs. Argentina’s Peso remained under some duress as investors fear a return to more interventionist economic policies and possible debt default following a heavy defeat for President Mauricio Macri in a Presidential primary vote.
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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
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DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.