SINGAPORE — Mainland Chinese indexes led losses as Asia-Pacific markets fell sharply on Monday following a sell-off on Wall Street on Friday.
“It’s no surprise and it makes all sorts of logical sense that the market should be concerned about the Covid situation because that clearly is impacting economic activity. It’s impacting earnings potential for many parts of the market,” said Timothy Moe, chief Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Goldman Sachs.
China has been struggling to contain its worst outbreak of the virus despite harsh lockdowns in its largest city, Shanghai. Over the weekend, capital Beijing, warned that the virus has been spreading undetected for about a week.
He said there is a lot of policy support on its way, especially in infrastructure spending, but that can’t take place when the economy is locked down.
“That’s why the market is very much focused on the near-term issues with respect to Covid,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 3.91% as the Hang Seng Tech index dropped 5.16%. Shares of Chinese video company Bilibili plunged 6% in Hong Kong, and Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed shares slipped 5.42%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225’s slipped 1.9%, while the Topix declined 1.5%. Nissan’s shares fell 5.05% following a Bloomberg report that Renault may sell part of its stake in the Japanese company in order to focus more on electric vehicles.
In South Korea, the Kospi slid 1.67% and the Kosdaq was down 2.52%. Shares of Hyundai Motor rose 1.39% after the company reported a 16.8% rise in first-quarter net profit compared with the same period in 2021.
Australia and New Zealand markets are closed on Monday for a holiday.
U.S. stock futures were down slightly after a sell-off Friday, when the Dow Jones Industrial average plunged more than 900 points. The S&P 500 closed down 2.8% at 4,271.78, for its worst day since March. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 2.6% to 12,839.29.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 2.32%.
On the economic data front, Singapore reported that its core inflation rate rose by 2.9% in March compared with a year ago, the fastest pace in a decade.
The increase was driven by higher inflation for food and services, authorities said. A Reuters poll of analysts forecasted that core inflation would grow by 2.4%.
Chinese telecommunications company ZTE will report earnings on Monday.
Oil down 3%
China’s Covid situation, global GDP and the war in Ukraine are all variables affecting the oil price outlook, said Dan Yergin, vice chairman of S&P Global.
“No one knows right now, because there are all these factors that are different from just normal supply and demand,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 101.603.
— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng, Sarah Min and Yun Li contributed to this report.