US President Donald Trump said late on Tuesday he is preparing to take action against China this week over its effort to impose national security laws on Hong Kong, but gave no further details. Hong Kong shares led declines among major regional indexes, with Hang Seng falling 0.46 percent, though it kept a bit of distance from a two-month low touched on Monday. MSCI’s ex-Japan Asia-Pacific index lost 0.12 percent, with mainland Chinese shares down a similar amount. Japan’s Nikkei was almost flat.
Worsening relations between the world’s two biggest economies could further hobble global business activity, which is already under intense pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent, reclaiming the 3,000 chart level. The index had cleared 3,000 points in Wall Street overnight before pulling back, as some traders returned to the New York Stock Exchange floor for the first time in two months.
“The S&P 500 looked to be set to close above 3,000 until the late headline that the United States was considering a range of sanctions on Chinese officials and businesses should China go ahead with its legislation regarding Hong Kong,” analysts at the National Australia Bank said in a note.
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5.38am update: Japan eyes fresh $1.1 trillion stimulus to combat pandemic pain
Japan will compile a fresh stimulus package worth $1.1 trillion (893.15 billion pounds) that will include a sizable amount of direct spending to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic, a draft of the budget obtained by Reuters showed on Wednesday.
The stimulus, which will be funded partly by a second extra budget, will be on top of a $1.1 trillion package already rolled out last month, putting the total amount Japan spends to combat the virus fallout at 234 trillion yen – roughly 40 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product.
The government’s 117 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) in fresh stimulus, to be compiled on Wednesday, will include 33 trillion yen in direct spending, the draft showed.
To fund the costs, Japan will issue an additional 31.9 trillion yen in government bonds under the second supplementary budget for the current fiscal year ending in March 2021, according to the draft.