Asian markets are once again mixed Thursday as worries over the political turmoil in Hong Kong continue to overshadow hopes of a post-pandemic recovery.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 1.3 percent in late afternoon trading, while Shanghai’s index was 0.2 percent lower. The KOSPI index in Seoul was also down 0.2 percent, and Taiwan’s TSEC was 0.6 percent lower.
Meanwhile, the indexes in Tokyo and Sydney closed 2.1 percent and 1.3 percent higher, respectively.
Oil markets are also taking a hit Thursday, with U.S. crude trading at $31.81 per barrel, a 3 percent drop, while Brent crude, the international benchmark, is $34.07 per barrel, a decline of 1.9 percent.
China’s recent moves to tighten control over the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong have raised diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Washington and subsequently rattled investors. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that the Trump administration no longer considers the global financial hub as autonomous from China, indicating the U.S. is considering suspending the preferential status that has made the city a top U.S. trading partner.
In futures trading, the Dow Jones is up 0.8 percent, the S&P 500 is 0.4 percent higher, and the Nasdaq is up 6 points but is essentially unchanged in terms of percentage.